Slater Park Looff Carousel recipient of 2018 NCA Historic Award

PAWTUCKET – The National Carousel Association (NCA) unanimously selected the Slater Park Looff Carousel, built in 1895 and placed in Slater Park in 1910, as a recipient of the 2018 NCA Historic Award, which will be presented at the visit by the organization September 13th.

“I want to thank the National Carousel Association for recognizing the Looff Carousel, the oldest stander carousel in the world,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “This Pawtucket and Slater Park treasure has withstood the test of time for over 100 years. The community’s commitment to its preservation can be seen through the hard work of Parks & Recreation Director John Blais along with
President Donna Houle and the newly created Friends of Looff Carousel at Slater Park.”

Two hundred members are expected to join the NCA in visiting the Looff Carousel on September 13th at 11 a.m. as part of a visit to thirteen original hand carved carousels in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts plus two new carousels and three museums/collections during their five-day convention September 12th -16th
The organization leadership will hold a plaque celebration for the work done in preserving, restoring, maintaining and operating this classical carousel. Looff Carousel is 1 of only about 170 carousels that remain intact and operating despite there at one point being over 3,000.

The convention co-chairs, Jim and Jackie Shulman, who grew up in New England, shared, “The National Carousel Association congratulates Slater Park for its excellent job in maintaining this historic carousel and the Pawtucket community for supporting its ongoing operation. It is a work of art for which Pawtucket and the entire State of Rhode Island can have tremendous pride. We really look forward to our visit.”

The annual Historic Award is presented to carousels that meet the following criteria – historic significance, innate quality of character, a proven program of restoration and maintenance, a regular schedule of operation, and an owner or support group likely to ensure that the carousel will continue to beavailable to the public as an operating

President of Friends of the Looff Carousel at Slater Park Donna Houle expressed her excitement to receive the 2018 NCA Historic Award. “Growing up near Slater Park I’m thrilled that the Looff Carousel will be receiving this important recognition during the upcoming convention,” said Houle. “The Friends of the Looff Carousel at Slater Park was formed to protect, promote and preserve the carousel and its history for generations to come.”

The Looff Carousel in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is a historic carousel, which was built in 1895 by Charles I. D. Looff. The carousel was originally located in a carnival called Lee Funland in upstate, New York.  The carousel was relocated to its present location at Slater Park in 1910 where it continues to operate. The carousel features a functioning North Tonawanda Military band organ, as well as 44 standing horses, 6
menagerie animals (1 camel, 3 dogs, 1 giraffe, 1 lion), and 2 chariots.

In 1910 the City of Pawtucket leased a small lot just southeast of the Daggett House to John wooden canopy and had the Looff carousel moved from New York to Pawtucket. The carousel began operation in Slater Park by July 1910. Locals referred to the site as “The Darby Horses.”

The 1927 Holyoke Merry-Go-Round in Massachusetts and the 1916 Lighthouse Point Murphy Brothers Carousel in Connecticut were also recipients of the annual Historic Award.

The carousel has a regular schedule of operation during the year. It is open on weekends from May-June, seven days a week from June-September, and weekends from September-October.

For more information about the convention, please check out the website at or contact John Blais, City of Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Director at 401-728-0500 ext. 257 or via email at