How A Chance Encounter Led Us To The Treasure Of Albany, Oregon! Day 73

When you leave your options open, you just never know where the road may take you – like to an unbelievable Carousel treasure in the town of Albany, Oregon!

If there is one thing we cherish most about this trip, it is the opportunity to discover unique and beautiful places off the beaten path. Especially when they happen out of the blue.

And did that ever happen in Albany, Oregon – all because of a chance encounter on a hiking trip!

The historic carousel in Albany, Oregon. You really have to see it to believe it. What a community treasure!

There we were, hiking in the sensational Silver Falls State Park, when we came upon another couple on the trail. And as it so often happens, when people find you are traveling, they share something you should see.

And so it was that when we met Renee and her husband on the trial. She told us we just HAD to see the Carousel & Museum in Albany.

Renee happened to be one of the many volunteers there, and told us that it was a hidden treasure of the state. Wow, was she ever right!

The Historic Carousel & Museum of Albany, Oregon.

I don’t know which is the better story.

The fact that an incredibly majestic historic carousel exists in the quaint town of Albany, Oregon. Or, that it was created entirely from donations and continues on because of a massive volunteer effort from the town.

Talk about authentic – this restored band organ plays the music as the carousel rolls around!

You see, this isn’t just a beautiful old carousel ride that people simply ride.

It is an entire complex and museum dedicated to carousels. And one that includes a complete workshop where they build and hand carve the amazingly beautiful animals that grace the platform.

Animals that can take 6 years or more to complete by hand! See : The Animals at The Carousel

dragon at the carousel
This dragon is being completed now in the paint shop. The hand carving is exquisite. Imagine riding this beauty around the carousel!

In fact, it took some 15 years to create the animals that are now circling around the carousel.

The History Of The Carousel

The Historic Carousel was all the original dream of local resident Wendy Kirby. Back in 2002, while traveling, Wendy happened to see an old carousel in operation.

It was then and there, she decided that her hometown of Albany should have one too. And she set about making it happen.

The project was gifted a 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism over a decade ago. It took 10 meticulous years to restore it piece by piece. From the wooden gears, to the mirrors, motors and platform.

The wood shop downstairs where all of the carousel animals are designed and created. The work that goes into these animals is astounding.

And the volunteer effort didn’t stop there. They have created a first class building to house the carousel. Including the work shop, paint shop, and gift shop. Most amazing, it is all run by volunteer efforts. 7 days a week!

A Community Volunteers

In fact, the talented community volunteer staff has logged over 160,000 hours to create something that can be described as nothing short of magical.

On our tour of the carving shop below the carousel, we learned it can take 5 to 10 years to carve a single piece. The carvers are also volunteers, and they are trained and taught on site to help create these stunning animals, all by hand.

Albany Oregon carousel
A chance encounter on a hiking trail led us to this incredible carousel in Albany. And it is pure magic!

One thing is for sure, this town, and it’s residents, have created a treasure that is like no other in the country.

We can’t thank our chance encounter guest enough for sending us on the path of this.

So if you ever find yourself near Albany, Oregon, make the trip over to see the Historic Carousel & Museum. It is more than worth the trip!

Happy Traveling and Discovering – Jim & Mary


  • Day 73 of 365
  • States Visited: 11 / 50
  • National Parks / Monuments Visited : 10
  • Stayed In : Albany, Oregon
  • Miles Driven : 18.4
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 7724.4
  • Total Gallons Used : 576.44
  • Biking Miles : 9.5
  • Biking Miles To Date : 142.5
  • Hiking Miles : 1.0
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 168.8

About Our Living Simple Tour

On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States

You can follow along by signing up for our twice weekly email updates at the bottom of the page. You can also follow us on Facebook : Live Simple Tour Facebook and Instagram : Live Simple Now Instagram Page.

6 thoughts on “How A Chance Encounter Led Us To The Treasure Of Albany, Oregon! Day 73

  • November 21, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I’m glad you were able to see this extraordinary carousel. I hope you were able to walk around downtown as well as take a little drive near the hospital to see many of the registered historic homes as well. Dr. Gary Goby was instrumental in putting the mechanism together. He is a craftsman extraordinaire!

    • November 21, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      We did drive around before we headed south – absolutely Gorgeous!!!

  • November 21, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been following your trip and so pleased for you to be in Oregon. You have seen many of our favorite places in WA/OR, from Chihuly to Silver Falls. We live in Sisters, about 2 hours East of Albany where we retired from the Will. Valley. Hope you enjoy the diversity of our state and welcome! Safe and happy travels.

    • November 21, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you Bev…we are absolutely in love with all Oregon has to offer. We will be definitely be visiting again!

  • November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    Welcome to my state! I moved here from the MIdwest 10 years ago, and love it. I’m down in Southern Oregon ( 5 hrs south of Portland – this is a big state). Wave as you pass Rogue River ( city) and the Rogue River! This is the land of big trees, and lots of them. I do volunteer work at a Food Pantry garden that grows organic veggies and herbs for Jackson County pantries. We use what I would call “almost” raised row gardening. Chipped paths, rows for plants, winter cover crops, and our compost that produces lots of fantastic spring-summer-fall vegetables — over 6,000 lbs from this garden. We don’t till it, just some mild turnover with a broadfork. Love that tool! A total of 8 small farm-gardens produce 28,000 lbs for the pantry! I love your blogs, which inspire me to do simple gardening!!! Enjoy your trip through Oregon!!

    • November 21, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Helga Thank you for your message. We will be heading down the coast to get to California but we will still wave your way as we pass. And how fantastic what you are the other volunteers are doing for the Food Pantry! Sounds like it produces extremely well! Keep up the good work! Jim and Mary


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