One hundred years ago, before women could even vote, Juliette Gordon Low was introducing girls to aviation and circuitry.Hoping to develop well-rounded, resourceful young women who were prepared to pursue a wide range of professions, the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA started a movement with just 18 girls in Savannah, Ga.
Today, Girl Scouting has touched the lives of nearly 60 million girls and women. As the Girl Scout program was emerging, the beautiful hand-crafted horses on Cedar Point’s Midway Carrousel were beginning to take shape. Just as the friendship circle connects Girl Scouts, the carrousel is an everlasting tradition that unites us all.
On Wednesday, June 20, Cedar Point hosted a special birthday celebration to honor the storied history of both. Girl Scouts from northern Ohio and beyond visited the park with discounted admission tickets. The Girl Scouts of North East Ohio hosted interactive exhibits that gave guests a peek into the past and a glimpse of the future. Visitors could see LEGO robotics figures, sample their favorite cookies and find out how Girl Scout uniforms have evolved over the years.
Shirley Leonard, regional manager for the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, spoke about how times have changed since the early days of Girl Scouting.
“Girl Scouting today is so much more than camping and earning badges,” said Leonard, who represents about 40,000 Girl Scouts in 18 Ohio counties. “But as we evolve, we stand firm in our commitment to empower young women who will be our future leaders and professionals of tomorrow. Did you know that virtually every female astronaut has been a Girl Scout?”
To commemorate the Midway Carrousel, Cedar Point’s manager of graphic services John Taylor talked about his role in restoring the horses so they always look as fresh as they did in their glory days. In his 35-year career at the park, Taylor has painted and polished horses for all three of the park’s carrousels, which also include the Kiddy Kingdom Carrousel and the Cedar Downs Racing Derby.
Veronica VandenBout, executive director of the Museum of Carousel Art and History in Sandusky, presented Cedar Point with a plaque to commemorate the Midway Carrousel as one of only two of its kind still in operation today.
Created by Daniel and Alfred Muller, the carousel features 60 jumping horses, four chariots and a Wurlitzer 153-band organ. Daniel Muller’s military background made him a stickler for detail, and he became known throughout the world for his powerful, lifelike animals that appear to be charging into battle. He took care to capture their sensitive nature as well, giving them warm, welcoming eyes and adorning them with flowers and ribbons.
The Mullers worked for the Dentzel Carousel Company, an industry leader, before grabbing the reins and starting their own carving business. Although their venture ultimately failed, the few carrousels they built from 1903 to 1917 became stand-alone icons because of their distinct style. They carved the Midway Carrousel for John J. Hurley of Revere Beach, Mass., who operated it as Hurley’s Hurdlers. Sandusky’s Holzapfel family later purchased it in 1946 and operated it at Cedar Point through 1963, when it became the park’s property.
In 2010, it was repainted and continues to bring smiles to the young and young at heart. Its cheerful organ music welcomes more than 3 million guests into the park each year.