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Archive for September, 2015

The Grand Carousel–Request for Information

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Carousel expert and author Eric Pahlke recently emailed me with a question. The question is about the Grand Carousel that currently operates at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

Eric is trying to resolve some conflicting information about the history of the carousel. He writes,

The oft-repeated story is that the carousel came to Olentangy Park in 1914, and was moved to Scioto Ranch Park in 1937-38 after Olentangy closed. Scioto later became Zoo Park, which became Wyandot Lake Park, which is now a combination of Zoombezi Bay and Jungle Jack’s Landing. I have a source that says the city of Columbus bought the carousel in 1981. The carousel apparently operated at Wyandot Lake until 1999 and has been running at the Zoo since 2000.

The problem is that I have some photographic evidence that says the carousel started on Coney Island and didn’t come to Ohio until the mid-1920s. This alternative story doesn’t distinguish between the carousel then coming to Olentangy Park and then to Scioto, or directly to Scioto.

I’m hoping that someone has materials in their archives that would help solve this dilemma. The primary question is whether the carousel came to Olentangy Park in 1914 or sometime in the 1920s. After that is solved, the other issues probably follow.

Does anyone have any information that could shed light on the issue? Eric is the author of Treasures from the Golden Age: West Coast Carousels, and Treasures from the Golden Age: East Coast Carousels.

Bower & Co. General Store & Family

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Jim Drake recently contributed these wonderful photos and family histories of the Bower (Weber) family.

Eda Weber Bower and her spouse, Henry G. Bower owned and operated the Bower & Company General Store at 2643 North High St. The photo to the left shows the store’s delivery wagon and, at the right of the image, a section of the Bower family home at 26 East Duncan Street.

This photo is the 1901 wedding portrait of Eda Weber (1869-1951), of the historic Frederick Weber family, and Henry Bower (1856-1935). They were married on January 1, 1901.

This photo was taken of the Bowers in 1934. In addition to his civic activities, Henry Bower was a founder and principal stockholder in the Northern Savings Bank (which eventually became part of the Huntington Bank system).

John J. Bower, one of Henry Bower’s brothers, was initially a partner in the general store, but eventually opened a hardware store on the southeast corner of Duncan and High streets. The Bower brothers are shown in this photo (left to right): Ernest E. Bower, Henry G. Bower, Owen Bower (son of Ernest E.), John J. Bower, his son Everett Bower, and Charles Bower.

Although Henry Bower had hoped to have at least one son to inherit the general store, he fathered five daughters instead. After his first daughter, Anna, was born, he pre-selected a male name for each successive child, but in every instance he had to opt for a female form of the name.

Consequently, “Albert Bower” became “Alice Bower,” “George” became “Georgia” Bower, “Henry” became “Henrietta,” and “Wilbur” became “Wilda” Bower. In this 1960 snapshot, the five daughters are arranged in their birth order from left to right: Anna Bower Mylander, Alice Bower Jesson, Georgia Bower O’Brien, Henrietta Bower Kuntz, and Wilda Bower Drake.

Of the five Bower daughters, Alice (Mrs. Frederick) Jesson had a long and successful career as Director of Restaurants and Cafeterias of the F. & R. Lazarus Company.

(Photos and write-up courtesy of Jim Drake) Note: there is one more image of the Bowers’ cart here.