Bringing Carousel Horse Back to Life

BARTONSVILLE — A piece of local history was uncovered by a man who repairs old carousel horses. He found tickets in a horse he’s had in his warehouse for 18 years.

For Joe Vesce, restoring old carousel horses is a hobby and passion. They’re all special to him, but when he found some old park tickets inside a horse that sat in his warehouse for years, he knew he found not just tickets, but a story as well.

“Whenever you find something and you’re working on a horse like this, it’s just like a little clue. It’s a piece of history. It’s something that was done maybe 100 years ago. It’s like a time capsule,” said Vesce.

These tickets date back to 1955. After getting in touch with a historical society in Dauphin County, Vesce learned the horse is from Swatara Park near Harrisburg. It’s a park that has since closed down.

The horse dates back to the late 1800′s. Through the historical society, Vesce got in touch with Sandy Sowers, the granddaughter of the original park owner.

“We’ve had an ongoing communication for the last year. He’s showed me the horse. The condition and has updated me on all the progress,” said Sowers.

This is what the horses look like before the final product. You can see it’s stripped. You can see the seams and where the nails once were and that’s what happens right before it’s brought back to life.

After a year of restoration work, Sandy Sowers finally picked up her childhood horse.

When the park closed in the late 60s, the carousel had been broken down and the horses sold off in pieces.

Sowers said getting the horse back gives her a chance to relive her childhood.

“When I found out that this horse, I mean I really feel like it’s coming home so it’s pretty amazing,” said Sowers.

It’s a gift that will arrive in Sowers’ Florida home this weekend.

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