This carousel survives from the vanished era when traveling amusement shows, carnivals, circuses, and county fairs brought entertainment to millions of Americans living outside urban areas. The hand-carved and hand-painted figures—two sleighs pulled by 22 animals including a giraffe, lion, zebra, elephant, goat, camels, deer, and several horses in varying positions—are an important expression of American folk art.
Each figure reflects the craftsmanship and artistry of unknown artisans. The carousel is among the dozen oldest in the country, and one of only two known extant examples made by the U.S. Merry-Go-Round Company of Cincinnati. Its significance is enhanced by an equally rare, fancifully decorated Wurlitzer band organ built and added to the carousel in 1937. The group has been housed at the National Cathedral since 1963.
National Register: September 11, 1997