Invest in the Paragon Carousel

The Friends of the Paragon Carousel, Inc., whose mission is to preserve the Carousel at its current location and restore it to its original beauty, has embarked on a capital campaign to retire the debt incurred in the purchase of the Carousel and insure the financial stability necessary to complete its restoration.

The Paragon Carousel will enrich our lives and benefit all our families for generations. Your support, with a gift to the capital campaign, will ensure that the carousel is not just a fond memory.

Investments are offered in the following areas:
◾Adopt a Horse Program: $10,000
Adopt one of the sixty-six carousel horses, and your chosen horse will be next in line to be restored by Restoration Artist James Hardison. A commemorative brass nameplate will be placed at the foot of the horse and the donor will receive a framed photo of the horse. Installment payment plans available.
◾Brick Patio Program: $100
A patio area around the carousel building will contain individual engraved bricks acknowledging donors to the capital campaign. Click here for more information.
◾Planned Gifts: If you would like to remember the Paragon Carousel now or in the future, please contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

To invest in the Paragon Carousel, contact us at

Friends of the Paragon

By a Friend

Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA is home to the Paragon Carousel. It was built in 1928 for the legendary Paragon Park and was number 85 of 88 carousels produced by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, once the premier manufacturer of carousels and coasters in the United States. The carousel boasts 66 horses carved in the “Philadelphia Style,” a style known for its elegant, realistic horses. Two rare Roman-style chariots are led by beautiful horses decked with flowers. In addition to its horses and chariots, the Paragon Carousel contains 35 original oil paintings depicting highlights of the era, a canopy painted with clouds and butterflies, scalloped rounding boards, and numerous cherubs and goddess faces.

The restoration of PTC #85 is an ongoing project. The carousel, in order to stay at Nantasket Beach, has to stay running to earn its keep. The former owners (Carousel Under the Clock) invited James Hardison, knowing of his master skills in painting, gilding and woodworking, to start the restoration. Having restored art objects, religious statuary, and furniture in the past, James thought of this as a great project for his talent. James now restores and manages the carousel operations for the current owners, The Friends of the Paragon Carousel. A non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the carousel spinning on Nantasket Beach.

The motor house surround has been fully restored back to its original color scheme. During the stripping process all the original motifs that had been painted out for decades were revealed. When Hardison removed the old countertop material near the control station, faux marbleizing was revealed. All of these areas including the four columns have been recreated using the marbleizing technique.

The horses on PTC #85 are being lovingly restored back to their original color schemes as well. These were found during the stripping process. Using a heat gun, layer after layer of “park paint” was removed. Careful analysis of the first layers of paint gives a strong idea of the original color palette. The horses were naturally colored in such schemes as dapple grays and chestnut bays. The saddle trappings were colorfully painted and gilded.

After the basswood horses are stripped, the woodwork is inspected and repairs are made. Several coats of primer are then applied and meticulously sanded to make them ready for the finish coats.

The painting techniques Hardison uses are similar to those used in 1928. “Artists” Japan colors along with various formulas of glazing mediums, hand-done with brushes (no airbrushes). Finally, several coats of varnish are applied to give them a deep rich finish.

If future generations are to continue enjoying this carousel, Friends of the Paragon Carousel need all the support they can get in order continue the restoration and maintenance. To contact the Friends of the Paragon Carousel, please call 781-925-0472 or visit them online at

Article courtesy of James Hardison, restorer and manager of the Paragon Carousel.

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company:

Henry Auchey and Chester Albright founded PTC in 1904, selling carousels and "toboggan" rides (roller coasters).
The company built approximately 75 carousels and about 150 roller coasters.

A freelancing John A. Miller built the famous "Giant Coaster" at Paragon Park, Nantasket Beach, Mass. for PTC in 1917. This 98-foot-high, 4000-foot-long ride was moved to Adventure World in Mitchellville, Maryland in 1986.

The Paragon Carousel:
Description: PTC #85
Carousel Class: Classic Wood Carousel
Status: Active
Model: #85
Year Built: 1928

4 rows, Park, All Wood composition
Figures: 42 Jumping Horses, 24 Standing Horses, 2 chariots
Music: Band Organ: Wurl 146B w/153 Facade 1928

Comments: Revamped after 1963 fire
In April 1986, carousel & building (120 tons) moved on flatbed truck to Hull. Re-opened July1,86
History: Paragon Park, Nantasket Beach, MA, 1928 to 1986
Carousel Station, Hull, MA

Follow Rte 3 from Boston towards Cape Cod.
Take exit 14 (Rockland/Nantasket), left on Rte 228 to Nantasket Beach.
Carousel is on left across from beach

Open the last weekend in March until October 31. Hours of operation vary.
Mailing Address: Box 100, Hull, MA, 02045
Telephone: 781-925-0472

email me