Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome - Santa Monica, CA
Posted by: silverquill
N 34° 00.608 W 118° 29.750
11S E 361873 N 3764288
Quick Description: Famed Carousel carver Charles Looff had this classic hippodrome built in 1917 to house his original carousel as the anchor attraction for the Santa Monica Pier. The current carousel, built in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggon Co., came here in 1947.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 8/29/2011 8:19:31 AM
Waymark Code: WMCEJX
The Santa Monica Pier is legendary as the fun getaway for the greater Los Angeles area. It was built in 1917 by famed carousel designer Charles Looff who financed most of the project himself. After immigrating from Germany, Loof began carving carousel horses from wood scraps from the furniture factory where he worked, eventually having great success on the East Coast, installing the first wooden carousel on Coney Island.
SANTA MONICA LANDMARK
SANTA MONICA PIER
The Santa Monica Pier was built in phases
between 1908 and 1916. It originally consisted
of a Municipal Pier for strolling and fishing
and a Pleasure Pier for amusements. The
Hippodrome was constructed in 191 to house
the Pleasure Pier’s carousel, and is one of the
last remnants of a festive architecture once
found in most California seaside resort towns.
The Pier was partially reconstructed between
1988 and 1990 after incurring major storm
damage in 1983. Designated August 17, 1976.
His west coast venture was even more ambitious and met with great success. The anchor attraction for the pier was this Byzantine-Moorish styled hippodrome with its original carousel. The fate of that original carousel is a mystery, but it is known that it was replaced by a carousel from the old Ocean Park Pier in 1939. The present carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1922. Its original home was Nashville, then it came to the Venice Pier before World War II and it was finally installed in the Looff Hippodrome here in Santa Monica in 1947. The forty-four carved horses and animals have gone through extensive restoration since, but the old glory remains.
* Yacht Harbor *
* Sport Fishing * Boating
The Santa Monica Pier Carousel
The Hippodrome (also known as the “Carousel Building”)
was built in 1916 by famous carousel carver Charles I.D. Looff.
Its unique combination of Byzantine, Moorish and California design
made it easily identifiable among the festive, eclectic architecture
of the Santa Monica Bay in the early 20th century.
Among the last of its kind, the building was inaugurated
into the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
The carousel housed inside, a 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan
Company Carousel (PTC #62), boasts 44 hand-carved horses and two sleighs.
It is the third carousel to be located in the Hippodrome,
and has been here since 1947.
MARKER DONATED BY THE ANGEL CITY PRESS AND THE MCAULEY FAMILY
The original artwork is vibrant; the old Wurlitzer music maker is still there, but appears not to be actually functional. Inside the hippodrome is an old-fashioned soda fountain with period memorabilia throughout. It is a true American classic.
The Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Viewers of the 1973 Redford, Newman film, "The Sting," may recognize this structure from several scenes, as the carousel run by Newman.
Although the Pier itself is always open, and free, each attraction and business has its own hours and fees. See below for the posted charges and hours for this carousel.
Peruse the full photo gallery to view some of the diversity of the carousel, the art work and the historic building inside and out.
For reference: Santa Monica Landmarks