History of the Celebration Square Carousel 

The Celebration Square CarouselIn the spring of 1996, Saginaw Valley Zoological Society (SVZS) President Julie Stevens and board members began researching ways to strengthen and improve Zoo programs. This resulted in the suggestion that a carousel at the Zoo would be a delightful addition to the community’s recreational facilities.

Inspired by the concept, City Councilman Earle DeGuise mentioned the idea to Jerry Willis, a retired contractor, who developed a plan to replicate some of the classic carousel figures of the early 1900s. Mr. Willis consulted with the Tri-City Wood Carvers, whose enthusiasm for the carousel was unanimous. The formal presentation was made in the fall of 1996.

With the help of Delta College, volunteers had a space to begin work on all of the components for the Celebration Square Carousel. Soon, the space was filled with volunteers who helped with a range of jobs including carving, sanding, and even the all important job of sweeping up the wood chips.

Each animal is created with a hollow body to allow for contraction and expansion of wood under a variety of environmental conditions. The necks and heads are also hollow.

The Celebration Square Carousel was finished and ready for riders on July 18, 1998. It took 18 months, over 40,000 volunteer hours, and cost $750,000.

Animals of the Celebration Square CarouselCarousel Horses

Boy Bunny                                               Christmas Horse - Miss Holly 
Girl Bunny  Cabbage Horse
Signature Horse (Lead)  Scottish Highland Pony
Native American Horse  Trappers' Horse
Children's Pony Zebra
Bavarian Armored Horse Fish Scale, Semi-Armored Horse 
Zebra  Viking-Armored Horse 
Midnight Blue Dapple  Sea Monster 
Cowboy Horse  Mexican Pony 
Flag Pony  Indian Pony 
Calvary Pony   


Along with the animals of the Celebration Square Carousel, there are also two chariot seats, ideal for those who wish to sit on a bench instead of the back of an animal. The first of the two chariots is designed after the Goodridge Brothers Photo Shop. The brothers photographed much of the region’s lumbering history. The second chariot, Dragons, takes you into a fantasy world of the sea including fire breathing dragons.

Goodrich Brothers Chariot Dragon Chariot

The Carousel also has carved rounding boards with local historical scenes and framed artwork.  

The historical scenes include:

                                   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel

   Indian Camp on River                                    Lumber Camp in Winter 
   Potter Street Train Station  Lumber Camp in Summer 
   Postal Delivery at Messner Hotel  City Water Works 
   Early Saginaw Church Scene  Caledonia Coal Mine 
   Great Fire of 1893  Great Flood of 1904 
   Ships Loading Lumber on River  Water Pump on the Corner 


 The Upper Scenery Panels on the Celebration Square Carousel also have many additional historical scenes including: 

The Flying Merkel

   Crystal Ballroom: Bancroft Hotel                      Fire and Police 
   Migrant Workers at Harvest  The Fordney House 
   Bliss Park  WW II, B-24 Bomber 
   Fort Saginaw  Farm Scene 
   Chief Shop-en-a-gons  Flying Merkel Motor Cycle
   Tri City Wood Carvers  Making Ice on the River 




  The Lower Scenery Panels include:   

                                Fire at City Hall 1935

   Boating on the Bay, 1922                           Stardust, Boating on the Bay 
   Ice Fishing on Saginaw River  Fire at City Hall - 1935 
   Winter Farm Scene  Interior of School Room 
   Castle Post Office  Gathering Maple Syrup