Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish is today being celebrated as the “Indiana Jones of Historic Preservation” after rediscovering the long-lost Jantzen Beach Carousel, a historic 1921 merry-go-round that has been shrouded in mystery since disappearing three years ago. Following the quest, Fish’s office announced Tuesday that the Carousel is being held at Jantzen Beach Center and is “intact.”
Restore Oregon listed the historic North Portland carousel as a Most Endangered Place after its owner announced it would be dismantled to make way for a remodel of the Jantzen Beach Center mall. As soon as the machine and its 72 horses were removed in July 2012, the South Carolina-based mall owner stopped returning calls from those hoping to see the venerable ride preserved for the enjoyment of Portlanders. Its whereabouts have been a complete mystery ever since.
Fish’s office could not be reached for comment, though it can be reasonably assumed that their celebrations around the epic discovery will continue throughout the weekend.
Earlier today, an unnamed source provided a map that is believed to have been used by the Commissioner in his quest for the carousel. Because of the prevalence of national retailers at Jantzen Beach, it is unknown how many sales tax-free bargains had to be dodged in the quest for the carousel. Although the exact location of the carousel has not been disclosed, it is rumored to be located somewhere between BedMart and Famous Footwear.
The carousel is the last remnant of the once-renowned Jantzen Beach Amusement Park. Although the site was known as the “Million Dollar Playground” during the 1920s, it is today known by many Portlanders as the “Temple of Doom.” The carousel was delicately restored in 1995 and was, for a number of years, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Restore Oregon staff are hopeful that the discovery will pave the way for the eventually reinstallment of the carousel here in Portland. Thank you, Commissioner Fish!