BUTTE — Giddy up! If you’re ever in Butte and looking for something to do, come to the Spirit of Columbia Gardens Carousel. It's a replication of the historic carousel at the old Columbia Gardens in Butte, and it is truly a home-grown project.
“And people got together and all these horses on here and everything, they’re all hand carved and painted here in Butte. They’re masterpieces,” said carousel general manager Ed Curran.
The idea to replicate the carousel was first brought up in 1996, and after years of fundraising, it was finally completed five years ago.
“There was so many people involved in it, this whole place was built mostly with volunteer work and donations,” said Curran.
In that time, the carousel has been visited by people from all around the world.
“One of the biggest reactions we get is, ‘We don’t have anything like this in our hometown.’ And we get that from people from huge cities and cities here in Montana, ‘We don’t have anything like this,’” he said.
The original Columbia Gardens amusement park was built in Butte in 1899 by Copper King William A. Clarke. It eventually closed about 50 years ago. All that’s left—and on display at the new carousel—are the charred remains of one of the horses from the original carousel before it was destroyed in a fire in 1973.
“The general idea was to have a memory for a new generation. A lot of us have the memory of the Columbia Gardens,” said Curran.
The new carousel is already creating new memories.
“Everybody loves the place, there’s no one that comes in here that’s not happy, they see it, whether it’s an adult or young child,” he said.
The carousel is located in Stodden Park and is open in the winter on Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.