Wednesday, November 14, 2018

DNA eWorkshop


Just a quick reminder, for any EWGS members that are interested, Family History Fanatics is conducting an online DNA eWorkshop: After the Test the evenings of Nov 29, Dec 6, and Dec 13. Participants will learn about what they can do with their DNA results after the test and how to start using this powerful genealogical tool.  Six hours of interactive instruction for the early bird price is $24.99 through November 18th and $29.99 thereafter. More details and registration can be found athttps://www.familyhistoryfanatics.com/dnaworkshop. Feel free to let any of your friends or family know about this workshop.

Thanks,
Andrew & Devon Noel Lee
Family History Fanatics
Humble, TX | 346-704-1433

Spokane's Treasure: The Looff Carrousel



SPOTLIGHT ON THE SPOKANE REGION
By Kris Krell


Spokane’s Treasure:  The Looff Carrousel

Continued from last week…


So how did the Looff Carousel find its home in Spokane, Washington?  


Washington Water Power Company (WWP), wanted to promote trolleys so they opened Twickenham Park in 1893 (later to become Natatorium Park) with their partner Spokane Street Railway.  The Ingersoll Amusement Company, who operated the park for owners WWP, commissioned the carrousel in 1907 with no money down.   Looff also designed and built the famous Coney Island carousel.  Ingersoll and Looff had a deal for WWP to buy the carousel for the park.  

Looff built the carousel in his Rhode Island workshop, but before it was completed, WWP had to revoke the deal as The Ingersoll Amusement Company had gone bankrupt because of the Panic of 1907, and WWP was burdened with debt because of the Ingersol bankruptcy,  Neither could afford the $20,000 cost of building and shipping of the carousel, so Looff shipped it to Spokane in pieces in 1909, and gave it to his daughter, Emma Vogel, and her husband, Louis Vogel, as a wedding gift.  The carousel sat in crates in the railway yards for months.  

Looff’s daughter, Emma, had recently moved to Spokane with her husband, a banker.  Charles Looff told WWP that he would cancel the $20,000 debt and release the carousel if WWP would make the Vogels the park’s concessionaires.  WWP liked this arrangement, and the park opened July 18, 1909, with the Looff Carrousel as the Park’s newest attraction.  The Vogels purchased Natatorium Park in 1929.  

The Carrousel featured 54 beautifully unique carved and painted horses, two “chariot-benches”, a giraffe, a goat, a tiger--which according to Bette Largent, the artist in charge of restoring and maintaining the carrousel--is very rare.  Largent calls the tiger “sneaky” because the head is looking down.  As of 2009, there were only three of these “sneakys” remaining.  The Carrousel also had a state-of-the-art German “band organ” by Ruth and Sons, with 300 pipes, manufactured in Waldkirch, Germany and imported by Looff around 1900.  The organ is similar to a player piano as it played music automatically using folded book music.  Every year a new music book arrived with the most current tunes.

A March 14, 2016, article, “Collector donates an early Looff horse to Spokane’s Carrousel”, by The Spokesman Review, discusses Jack, a horse who was most likely carved in 1886—which would make Jack about 20 years older than Spokane’s 1909 Carrousel.  

Jack is a fixed-in-place prancing horse built for the inside ring of a carousel.  They know that Jack is an early carving by Looff because of the carving of the front leg muscles.  Jack was on at least three other carousels at Coney Island and Feltman’s Pavilion in New York’s entertainment destination.  As of this newspaper article above, Jack was valued at between $7,500 and $8,500.  

The outside ring of horses are called “jumpers” and most everybody wanted an outside horse.  When technology was developed to make the animals on the inside ring move up and down, that development was made to attract riders to the inside ring.


Sources:  
Wikipedia, 
The Spokesman Review, The Man Who Saved the Carrousel, April 18, 1996, 
The Spokeman Review, Collector Donates an early Loooff horse to Spokane’s Carrousel, March 14, 2016, 
The Spokesman Review, Artist’s touch keeps 100-year old Carrousel looking young, March 20, 2009, 
The Spokesman Review, Horsing around, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Spokane's Treasure: The Looff Carrousel


SPOTLIGHT ON THE SPOKANE REGION
By Kris Krell

Spokane’s Treasure:  The Looff Carrousel

When I was in college—first two years at SFCC in Spokane and last two years at Eastern Washington State College in Cheney—I worked at Fabricland fabric store in the Spokane Valley.  After Expo ’74, one of my Fabricland coworkers was a high school student who had the privilege of being chosen as a volunteer helping to restore the Looff Carousel for the new Riverfront Park.  It was quite an exciting time for her!  

The Looff Carousel is one of the few original intact carousels built by carver and carousel inventor Charles Looff; he emigrated from Denmark to Brooklyn (Other reports say that he was from Schleswig-Holstein now part of Germany.) at the age of 18 years  old.  From the 1800s to the 1960s, the United States had between 4,000 and 5,000 carousels.  In 2016, only 152 wood carousels including the Looff Carousel remained.

When my coworker helped restore the Looff Carousel, it had been in storage since 1968—when Natatorium Park permanently closed its doors due to the decline in amusement park visitors.  With the hopes of Spokane hosting Expo ’74, Spokane decided to reinvent the downtown riverfront.  It was the dream of Spokane Parks Director William S. Fearn to include the Carousel in the plans—not for Expo but for the new Riverfront Park that would be developed after Expo ’74.  

Bill Oliver, a Natatorium Park handyman and electrician, inherited the Carrousel from Lloyd Vogel, son of Emma and Louis Vogel.  Bill offered the Carrousel to Spokane County for $40,000, well below its estimated value of $100,000, but they said they could buy a new one for that amount.  (As of April 1996, it was reported that the Carousel was worth well over $1 million.)  Spokane City Council, though, grabbed at the offer and required that a certain portion of the cost be raised through donations.

The city received an $80,000 anonymous donation, and the 10-sided building was built to house the future Carousel.  During the fair, the building was used as a Bavarian beer garden.

On May 8, 1975, the restored Looff Carrousel was reopened to crowds of thousands.  Since 1975, an average of 275,000 to 300,000 riders each year have visited Riverfront Park for a ride on the Looff Carrousel.

Many carousels were lost to fires, floods, and collectors wanting to have the carved figures which are now considered American folk art.  Before the economic downturn of 2008, the outside ring horses were each horse valued at $35,000.

Riverfront Park, as of 2009, reported that they use about 50,000 plastic rings each year even though visitors are not to take them home as souvenirs.

In 2009, The Looff Carrousel turned 100.  On September 19, 1977, the Carrousel was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

                     To Be Continued Next Week…


Sources:   
The Spokesman Review, The Man Who Saved the Carrousel, April 18, 1996, 
The Spokeman Review, Collector Donates an early Looff horse to Spokane’s Carrousel, March 14, 2016, 
The Spokesman Review, Artist’s touch keeps 100-year old Carrousel looking young, March 20, 2009, 
The Spokesman Review, Horsing around, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

EWGS November Seminar Change of Venue



The Seminar with Dave Obee on Canadian Genealogy is scheduled at Saturday morning (registration 8:30-9:00 am). The location has changed due to unforeseen conflicts. The all day seminar will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church located at 8441 N Indian Trail Road in Spokane. There is plenty of parking available at this location when you arrive.
 
Lunch will be included for everyone who has registered. A mixed group of sandwiches has been ordered for you that registered after the October 15 cut off for the free lunch. So we all will receive "free lunch" for this event.
 
To emphasize. . . the Saturday seminar on Canadian Genealogy is being held at the announced time but the place has changed to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church located at 8441 N Indian Trail Road. I for one am really looking forward to learning from Mr. Obee and we hope everyone finds us at the new location.
 
Sincerely,
 
John Wilson
     EWGS Web Manager

Spokane's Spooky, Scary 1,000 Steps!



SPOTLIGHT ON THE SPOKANE REGION
     By Kris Krell

Spokane's Spooky, Scary 1,000 Steps!



Have you heard of the Haunted Stairs or the Thousand Steps?  I first heard of the story way back in high school.  My girlfriend drove me by the Greenwood Cemetery—she didn’t know why it was called the thousand steps—just that it was spooky scary! 

When I saw this article in the Spokane Historical app, I just had to read it!

There are at least four tales about the stairs but the one I like the most is that many people believe that ghosts guard the staircase stopping people from reaching the top!  Some claim to feel/see ghostly entities while walking at night through the cemetery, up the stairs.  Another article in Google, Atlas Obscura, writes that the steps are called thousand steps because no one can ever make it to the top!  If you walk the steps in the dark and do get to the top, it is said that you will see men, women, and children and will hear their shrieks!

I don’t know how many steps there actually are, but I’m not about the try to go and count them— they are on private property and the steps are in disrepair! 



Source:  Spokane Historical app; Atlas Obscura article in Google