When you first arrive to the beaches down in Watch Hill, the blue water and gorgeous scenery blow you away. You will realize that the area is more than just a beach town, it is a town filled with so much history and beauty.
The Flying Horse Carousel is a venue located down near the beach which attracts a crowd every day during the summer months. Back in 1883, a traveling circus came through the area and brought along items that would entertain children. When the show left town, they took everything with them except for the carousel. No one is certain to why the carousel was left behind, but the prevalent theory is that maintaining the carousel was extremely expensive and they were not interested in paying for the repairs any longer.
The Flying Horse Carousel was originally built in 1867 by Andrew Christian and Charles Dare Company, a group based out of NYC. The design is very unique and something you have never seen anywhere else in the country. The horses are suspended on chains, not poles like most versions you see today. Since the horses are on chains, it makes it feel like you are flying when riding it.
This unique piece of history has had its ups and downs. In 1938, a hurricane ripped through the area and the carousel was damaged. Horses were found buried in the sand dunes and pieces had to be replaced. In 1948, the wooden horses were fixed up by a local woman named Harriet Moore to ensure that the carousel would remain in tip-top shape for generations to come.In 1993, a local artists, Gary Anderson, was hired to refurbish the horses, and help make them look new again. The people of Watch Hill have taken this carousel under their wing and made it into their own.
The outside horses have a series of brass rings surrounding the carousel and if the rider can grab one of the rings, they get to ride again for FREE! Today, the carousel runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. It only costs $1 to ride on the inside horses and $1.50 on the outside, allowing your children to experience a piece of history for almost free.
Next time you and your family take a ride to Watch Hill, be sure to test out the oldest continually running carousel in the United States! You won’t regret it.