Herschell Carousel Factory Museum
In the sprawling industrial city of North Tonawanda, directly across the river from Grand Island, stands the old Herschell Carousel Factory (180 Thompson St., off River Rd., 716/693-1885, www.carrouselmuseum.org, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and noon–4 p.m. Sun. mid-June–Sept., noon–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun. Apr.–mid-June and Sept.–Dec., adults $5, seniors $4, children 2–12 $2.50). In its heyday in the 1920s and ‘30s, the plant produced over 50 carousels a year. Until 1928, all featured animals were carved entirely of wood; after 1928, the magical creatures were half-wood and half-aluminum.
Now both an informal museum and a workshop, the old factory contains a major exhibit on Allan Herschell, an expert woodcarver who was once the best-known carousel maker in the United States. Also on display are hand-carved animals dating back to the early 1900s, new carved animals in various states of completion, and historical exhibits. Out back spins a working 1916 carousel that adults as well as kids are invited to ride.
A landscaped Heritage Trail connects the museum with other locales of interest, such as, the tiny Railroad Museum (111 Oliver St., 716/694-9588, adults $2, children under 12 free) and the performing arts center of Riviera Theatre (67 Webster Street North Tonawanda,716/692-2413, www.rivieratheatre.org) near Gateway City.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition