Volunteers restore Knox merry-go-round

By Rodney L. Sherman



How many turns does a playground merry-go-round make over the course of 100 years? No one knows how many revolutions the little ride in Knox Civic Park might have made, but not too long ago the ride could hardly spin.

"The bearings were shot it was hardly turning and grinding metal on metal," said Knox Borough resident Michael Wise. "We were sitting in Mac's having a beer me, Allen Hunsberger and Kelly Hoffman and we were talking about it and all the fun we had on it when we were kids.

"We looked at each other and said, ‘Let's fix it.'"

Wise believes the little ride was donated to the park more than a century ago by Roy Underwood one of the founders of the Knox Glass Plant.

"But the hub, the part that the table sets on and turns, we think that came from Slicker Pipe and Tool," said Wise. "That made it a little bit personal for me as Slicker Pipe and Tool was in my family."

The Knox Glass Plant and the Slicker Pipe and Tool buildings are all gone now but at one time they weren't far apart.

Wise said Slicker Pipe and Tool, as the only machine shop in the immediate area at the time, probably made the hub.

Wise said the hub was fitted with new, modern bearings and put back into use.

The idea to restore the merry-go-round took off in the community.

Eric and Sue Baylor donated the use of their backhoe to help lift the merry-go-round off its base and eventually helped reset it.

Hunsberger was able to bead blast the steel portions of the ride and paint it at Swartfager Welding where he works.

Rhea Lumber and Country Farm Supply donated materials. Dave Thompson lent a hand.

"Doug McMillian put a new floor on it and reset the seats and put the chains back on it," added Wise.

The project was completed with no cost to the borough or the Knox Civic Club.

Wise chuckled at his memory of riding the merry-go-round.

"That thing when I was a kid went like 900-mph," quipped Wise. "Now it can go 1,800-mph."

Wise posted an update on the project on his Facebook page and the news drew some immediate comments.

"I remember that from when I was a kid, many moons ago," wrote Rhonda Salser. "Always made me dizzy but I'm glad it is back for more to enjoy. Thanks to all who had the idea to fix it up and those who actually did the work."

Eleanor Ann Dascombe, also known as Elli Gordon, wrote, "I remember it well and I'm 83."

Kris Parker added, "I have many memories of making myself sick. Glad to hear it will continue."

Concluded Wise, "I and many others grew up in Peanut Park and/or Knox Community Park, it's our hope many more kids will enjoy this old timepiece of years past."