• Carousel in 1921


    Installed in 1921 by the Dentzel Carousel Company of Germantown, Pennsylvania, the Glen Echo Park carousel is one of only 135 functioning antique carousels in the country and one of the few still in its original location. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the carousel is truly a Washington area treasure! Known as a “menagerie carousel” because of the variety of its animals, the Glen Echo Park carousel includes 52 animals: 40 horses, 4 rabbits, 4 ostriches, 1 giraffe, 1 deer, 1 lion and 1 tiger. It also features two circus chariots. With its playful animals and striking ornamentation, the carousel has been an iconic symbol of the Park throughout the site's amusement park years and into its current phase as an arts and cultural center for the past half-century.

    In the summer of 1960, Howard University students led protests at the Park along with local residents. The students rode the carousel and were arrested for doing so in violation of the privately-owned amusement park’s segregation policies. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Their continued protests under the heat of the summer sun – and the active engagement of community members in the fight – led to the amusement park's desegregation, opening the venue to everyone for its 1961 season and beyond.

    Today, the carousel is the only remaining historic ride from the amusement park era at Glen Echo Park. It is ridden by more than 50,000 people each year – including multi-generations of families visiting the Park. In 2021, the carousel celebrated its 100th Anniversary in the Park. Find information on the Carousel 100th Anniversary Celebration here.

    We invite you to read our new carousel history booklet, Glen Echo Park Carousel: A Brief History of the First Hundred Years of the W. H. Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park by Barbara Fahs Charles. Read it here or find it in print at the Park (late June 2021)!

    Enjoy this short video -- part of our 100th anniversary launch event -- which features film clips and images of the carousel through the decades. 

    Here's another short video history of the carousel.

    Take a virtual tour of the carousel with a Park Ranger:


    Did you know that Glen Echo Park's carousel was central to the civil rights story of the Washington, DC area?

    Learn the Civil Rights Story!


    You can also get some quick facts about Park's Dentzel carousel from this Fact Sheet & Timeline.

    Read it Here


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    En Español


  • Glen Echo Amusement Park security guard talks to African American protester on the carousel in 1960


  • Restoration Book by Deborah Lange

    Purchase Restoration Book

  • Return to Carousel Homepage

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