From a lifelong love of “always wanting to build stuff” Todd Goings built a one-of-a-kind business that preserves cherished memories of childhood and summer vacations. Todd and his crew of eighteen staff members at Carousels and Carvings restore and preserve historic and create new carousels for use around the country.
Todd started out as a child building things from pallets from his home in Caledonia. He then moved on as an adult to cabinetwork, building the Victorian-style teller stations in what was originally the Marion Bank.
But it was when he read about the carousel being restored in Mansfield in the 1980s, he found his calling. He got involved with that project, and in August of 1997, he opened his own business – Carousels and Carvings, located on Likens Road in Marion.
Today Carousels and Carvings are the only manufacturer of carousels to offer in-house everything that is necessary to build or restore a complete carousel. With their large facility and talented staff, they can build a new carousel, from the original conception drawings to the finished machine. Or they restore vintage treasures that have become worn and lack-luster back to their original glory with rich colors, dazzling gems, and sparkling gilding from top to bottom. Their dedication to the preservation of these pieces of art is allowing generations to still enjoy these historic treasures.
They work on carousels from coast to coast, bringing them to Marion to restore or going to the location. They not only create and restore but also do the necessary maintenance and upkeep. This takes the staff to Boston, New York City, Maine, Oklahoma, Montana, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and many places in-between. They work with publicly-owned as well as private, including working with cities, zoos, parks, malls, and fun centers.
An example of one historic restoration is the B&B Carousell, which was the only remaining amusement attraction on Coney Island, located north of Surf Avenue. The “Carousell” in the name came from the way the original brochures spelled the word, and “B&B” referred to the former owners. It was built by William F. Mangels c. 1906–1909 for Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. The carousel has been relocated and refurbished several times over its history.
Starting in 2008, the horses of the B&B Carousell were restored by Carousels and Carvings. According to The New York Times, “the restoration involved synthesizing and applying more than 80 colors that most closely matched the horses’ original tones, using brushes made of several animals’ natural bristle”. It included new horsehair tails for the 50 horses. When working on the historic pieces like this, Todd shared, “We just try to preserve the original artist’s work, not highlighting the new craftsman’s efforts.” In 2016, the carousel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the Carousel and Carving facility, they have a wood, paint, and machine shops, as well as an assembly area, allowing them to restore as well as design and create new carousels. Some of the new carousels can be found in Staten Island in New York, Loon Point Park in California, and the Greenway Park carousel in Boston. The knowledge gained from the restoration of old carousels is applied to engineering new designs but allows them to design and carve contemporary figures, animals, and facades that are more contemporary.
Many of both the older and newer carousels are filled with horses. But many also have a menagerie of animals, like flamingoes, pigs, butterflies, frogs, tigers, lions, ostriches, and even Komodo dragons. Some have seats and chariots for those wanting a simpler ride. Some go up and down and back and forth, creating the illusion of a race. There are music, sounds, and flashing lights to complete to experience.
Riding on a carousel has to be one of those special memories for many, bring joy and smiles to countless faces. But for Todd Goings, as he shared, “It is seeing people enjoying the carousels that brings me satisfaction.
Visit the Carousels and Carving’s website to see videos and photos of some of their beautiful creations and restorations at www.carouselsandcarvings.com.