Wyoming town wants to restore old Ocean City carousel

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Downtown group looking for photos of former Gillian merry-go-round

 A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987. A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987.

BUFFALO, Wyo. — Twenty-four years ago was the last time the 24 horses on the old cowboy and Indian carousel made their home in Ocean City. Now settled in Wyoming, with so much room to roam, it’s a shame the horses can leave their posts. But the carousel’s new owners are trying making sure the horses get to at least make their rounds.

Arnette Tiller of Buffalo, Wyo. is part of the local revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore the 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987.

“It ran in Ocean City until (1987). A couple from Buffalo, Emerson and Ann Scott, bought the carousel and moved it to Buffalo and set it up as part of a park,” Tiller said. “They had a Ferris wheel and the carousel and miniature golf and an ice cream parlor. About 15 years ago, it had some problems, so they just closed it instead of getting it repaired.”

Tiller said that the carousel is in need of a new gear system.

In an attempt to revitalize the small downtown, the Buffalo Development Association purchased the non-working carousel three years ago with the hopes of setting it up inside a 6,000-square-foot community center as an attraction.

Tiller said that the community of just 4,800 – a third of the size of Ocean City – needs the event center to revitalize the downtown.

According to Tiller, the cowboy carousel is not only the only carousel in Wyoming, it’s also the only one of its kind in the United States. And it is a major part of downtown project.

When asked how she could know it was the only carousel in the state, Tiller replied, “It’s not hard; there’s only 450,000 people in the state.”

On the US claim, she said that the National Carousel Association has a map of all the carousels in the United States.

A special committee was formed, on which Tiller sits, in charge of what has been deemed The Cowboy Carousel Center. Tiller is the chairwoman of the fundraising for the committee.

The carousel itself, although it ran for over a half a century on the East Coast, has big ties to Wyoming. According to the history published on cowboycarouselcenter.org, the subcommittee’s website, the horses on the carousel are fiberglass reproductions of original wood carvings by Buffalo artist Bill Jennings.

To raise funds for restoration, the group made a promotional video and is looking for photos or film from the time the carousel was in Ocean City.

“We’re having a video produced. We just wanted some early stuff of it for this video.

We also want to create kind of a historical display area in the new building that tracks the history of the carousel,” Tiller said.

The Development Association is relatively new, about 8 years old, Tiller said.

“Their goal is to promote the downtown area in any way they can,” she said. “Anything that’s going to help. When you’re in a really small community like this, you either get progressive and grow and develop or you fade away and die and there’s a lot of that goes on in Wyoming.”

The committee’s website also lists ongoing projects, letters of endorsement, donation information and contact information.

Being so far away from its home, the horses still have visitors. Tiller said she finds it amazing how many people have been through Buffalo that have rode the carousel when it was in Ocean City.

“We get a lot of that. We had a free day in June. Just in that one day there were four people who came by that said, ‘I remember this carousel from Ocean City,’” she said.

Tiller said the Development Association wants to invite everyone from Ocean City to come to Buffalo and see the carousel.

For more information, email Tiller This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at or call 307 620-1691.

 A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987. A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987.

 A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987. A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987.

 A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987. A Buffalo, Wyo. revitalization committee that is reaching out to Ocean City residents and asking for help to restore this 1925 Spillman Carousel that ran Gillian’s Fun Deck on the Ocean City Boardwalk from 1924 to 1987.


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