The 758,000-square-foot shopping center was built in 1972 and received more than $40 million in renovations between 2010 and 2014. It houses Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Petco, Ross, T.J. Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, West Marine, Michaels, a Stanford’s Restaurant and a (soon to be built) Cracker Barrel restaurant, among other businesses.
Many people wondered what would happen to the 1921 C.W. Parker carousel, a signature attraction at the Mall for decades and cherished by many. The carousel was reportedly put into storage (somewhere) on the island after the last remodel by Edens…but its location and condition were a secret.
There was lots of speculation. Perhaps it had been “parted out”? Evidence of the carousel’s existence never turned up. Until now.
The Jantzen Beach Mall has changed hands several times since it opened in 1972 as an indoor mall. In 1995, MBK Northwest acquired Jantzen Beach Center for about $18 million and demolished about two-thirds of the mall in 1995 and 1996, including some 150 small stores to make room for big box development.
In December 1996, MBK Northwest sold the 70-acre center for $76 million to Edens, a Michigan-based pension fund. In April 2012, center managers Edens & Avant Realty announced $50 million in renovations that finished in the summer of 2013 and eliminated the indoor mall for drive-up parking outside of individual stores.
Restore Oregon unveiled three “design concepts” for the Jantzen Beach carousel. According to a news release, these plans, which include a “compact” pavilion, a medium-sized pavilion and a larger pavilion, were created by architecture firms SERA and PLACE, both Portland-based, “to help inspire the creation of an irresistible new attraction for our region.”
“Because the Jantzen Beach Carousel is one of the largest ever built, it won’t fit in an existing building,” Peggy Moretti with Restore Oregon said. “It needs a new pavilion and a new development and that has proven to be something of a challenge.”
“We’ve spoken with OMSI, the Zidell Yards, the Vancouver Waterfront, the Portland Diamond Project has expressed some interest,” Moretti said. But waterfront developments in Portland and Vancouver may have to compete with Kimco Properties elsewhere. Kimco Realty owns interests in 510 U.S. shopping centers across 32 states and owns eight strip mall properties in the metro area, include Clackamas Promenade, Tanasbourne Village, Sunset Mall and Gresham Town Fair.
Moretti said the carousel is in need of some repair, and the organization is working with a conservator to assess how much that will cost. She estimated the full restoration project could cost somewhere around $10 million. Restore has received roughly $300,000 in funds and in-kind service so far toward restoration efforts for the carousel, which was donated to the organization last year from Edens, the former owner of the Jantzen Beach Center, reports the Vancouver Columbian.
The goal is to also make it accessible by public transit, accessible for people of all abilities and accessible to people from all different incomes. Moretti said ideally the carousel will cost around $2.50 to $3 a ride.
National Carousel Association has a Carousel Census Map (above). OREGON Merry Go Rounds include:
➤ ALBANY COMMUNITY CARVED
➤ OAKS PARK Herschell-Spillman menagerie
➤ SALEM, community carved 2001:
➤ PORTLAND; JANTZEN BEACH Parker
➤ PORTLAND; BURGER KING Spooner
➤ PORTLAND; CAROL’S CAROUSEL Carmel/Illions
➤ PORTLAND; CAROUSEL COURTYARD, Museum, Looff
Before the mall, from 1928 into the 1960s, the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park was frequented by up to 725,000 people annually. The Jantzen Beach Amusement Park featured the huge Big Dipper Roller Coaster, the C.W. Parker Carousel, a Ferris Wheel, a small railway, thrill rides, midget auto racing and a swimming pool.
The golden age of the carousel in America was the early 20th century, with large machines and elaborate animals, chariots, and decorations being built. The Jantzen Beach Amusement Park opened on May 26, 1928, promoted as the largest amusement park in the nation. The park sprawled over 123 acres at Hayden Island, notes PdxHistory with the C.W. Parker Carousel and the Big Dipper roller coaster major attractions.
In the 1960s, attendance dipped at the amusement park and it was closed permanently in 1970. The park was razed in 1970 to make room for the new Jantzen Beach Shopping Center, which opened in 1972. The original Jantzen Beach Mall kept only one relic of its former days: its 1921 C.W. Parker carousel.
The Jantzen Beach Carousel has been a fixture of Hayden Island since the opening of Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in 1928. It was built in 1921 by the C.W. Parker Amusement Company, the “American Amusement King”.
C. W. Parker built five large extravagant “park” machines. Only one of those five is still left, the Jantzen Beach Carousel. The 72 horse, four row carousel is said to be lit by 1,350 lights with 286 mirrors. The base is a large 67-foot diameter that can travel up to ten miles an hour on the outside steeds, making it the largest and fastest ride still in operation.
Commissioner Fish asked his office to look into the whereabouts of the merry-go-round, reports the Oregonian in June, 2015. A member of his office called Edens, the South Carolina-based mall owner, and the company told them the carousel was right where it should be: in a camera-monitored, climate-controlled building at the Jantzen Beach shopping center. They were told the carousel is intact.
The previous mall owner, Edens has donated the carousel to Portland nonprofit Restore Oregon, so it will soon have a new home in the Portland area. Restore Oregon put together this timeline of the carousel.
Restore Oregon’s mission is to restore historic places and architecture. Peggy Moretti, Restore Oregon’s executive director, said Edens approached the nonprofit about the donation in the spring. The group, under a non-disclosure agreement, had to stay quiet until the transfer was complete. This led to some confusion about the carousel’s status when Edens sold the mall to Kimco Realty Corp. in July, reports The Oregonian.
Moretti said the search process could take as much as two years and will include a feasibility study.
One location for the Jantzen Beach CW Parker Carousel might be Jantzen Beach. The property owned by Red Lion’s Howard Detrick, on the West side of the Interstate Bridge might be a great spot. It may be at least 5 years before any new bridge is built. Meanwhile it could be a terrific asset for the whole region.
The 72-horse Merry-Go-Round first operated at the Venice Beach, California Pier from 1921 until 1927. It survived a major fire and was put into storage until 1928 when it was then shipped to Jantzen Beach Amusement Park, where it operated for 42 years as one of the park’s main attractions — along with the Big Dipper Roller Coaster.
The Jantzen Beach Mall opened in 1972 and the carousel operated for 22 years inside the shopping center.
In 1995, the Merry-Go-Round underwent a thorough $500,000 restoration and was relocated to become the center piece of the new “Jantzen Beach SuperCenter” which added new retailers including Circuit City and Barnes & Noble.
In 2007 the owners requested that the Jantzen Beach Carousel be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places. The owners then attempted to have it moved to Portland’s Children’s Museum. However, the funding to move the carousel failed to materialize.
On April 22, 2012, the Carousel was closed to the public in anticipation of yet another remodel. This time a $50-$60 million project by the new owners, EDENS, a South Carolina-based developer and real estate holding company.
Jantzen Beach Center’s newest remodel altered the mall from an inward facing walking mall to a 100,000-square-foot, U-shaped design where shoppers will enter stores from the outside. The disadvantage of this design is that the Carousel would likely need a dedicated building.
While EDENS publicly committed to retaining the Carousel on-site at Jantzen Beach Center, the firm’s site plans never showed a dedicated location for the Carousel.
Economics are a consideration. Authentic, hand carved horses, of the quality that CW Parker created, can cost between $5,000 – $20,000. The Jantzen Beach Carousel is widely known for its many elaborately carved and one-of-a-kind horses, says Carousel News. If just the horses were sold at $10K each, that would be $720,000. It may be more profitable to part out carousels, especially the ones CW Parker made, then to make them a public attraction.
Edens may have hard time turning down $3-$4 million for their fully restored and operational 72-horse Parker carousel. Ready to roll.
Some of the hand carved horses were made by inmates of the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, near the Carousel shop of Charles Wallace Parker. By 1925 the C.W. Parker factory began phasing out the wooden carved horses, and began creating the aluminum cast figures.
Here’s a Carousel Historical Timeline courtesy The International Museum Of Carousel Art in Hood River. The International Museum of Carousel Art has more than 120 carousel animals on display, each with their own distinct story and history. Founder Duane Perron says there were two carousels spinning at Jantzen Beach at one time, both with Parker Company horses.
Starting with the restoration and operation of a 1914 carousel in Portland, Oregon in 1978, they have restored and placed into operation seven antique carousels at various locations around America. Son Brad Perron says they have “the world’s largest collection of antique carousels.”
Here are some images of historic carousels around Portland.
The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum also is a hub of people and expertise.
The Albany Carousel had a 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism donated to their project. Portland Architecture, Friends of Portland’s Wooden Carousels and Save the Jantzen Beach Carousel have more info.
Today, if you want to ride an antique carousel, Salem’s Carousel, lovingly restored by a large group of volunteers, is a great destination.
The National Carousel Association has been working to keep America’s remaining carousels in operation since 1973. Every year, 200-300 National Carousel Association members gather for the annual convention.