The ‘Country Fair” Carousel of Rocky Mount Holds Childhood Memories- Old and New

I have always been a Merry-go-round child. I remember how important it was to pick the right horse and the whirling sound of carousel music. Do you remember watching for your parents standing in the crowd as round and round you’d go?  Let’s be Merry-go-round children again while I remind you of some research information.

Start with some Carousel Music:

In the turn of the last century, carousels fascinated the public. While the ride was available to Europeans since the 1700s, it was the advent of the steam engine that helped carousels come into their own.

Gustav Dentzel pioneered the modern carousel in America around the time of the Civil War. By the 1900s, artisans and manufacturers were building large and grand carousels.  They favored animals and mythological creatures in a variety of poses. All were brightly painted and outfitted to prance in a continuous circle. Interest in the rides peaked in the 1930s. After that, many of the rides were dismantled or allowed to fall into disrepair. A resurgence of interest in the 1970s saved many of the old carousels. With new paint and gilding, the old motors were refurbished and all of the creatures came back to life for a new generation.

The International Museum of Carousel Art reported, “Of the more than 4,000 carousels built in America during the ‘golden age,’ fewer than 150 exist intact today.”
Several of them are here in North Carolina, including two from the master himself, Gustav Dentzel. I’ll write more about our other NC carousels, but NOW:

Herschell-Spillman Carousel
Sunset Park
1550 River Drive, Rocky Mount
(252) 972-1151
The circa 1920 Herschell-Spillman “County Fair” style carousel was bought for the City of Rocky Mount in 1952 by the Rocky Mount Civitan Club. The Carousel was severely damaged in the flood of 1999 and required extensive restoration by Carousel Magic of Mansfield, Ohio.

Renovated rounding boards were added to include paintings of images found on 1920′s postcards depicting Rocky Mount landmarks and activities of that time.
Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, 1-7 p.m. A $5 admission fee allows day-long rides on the carousel, train, spray ground and other amenities.

Video about the Carousel:











It’s a Lovely Day Today – A Morning With SFH on Main Street

A June 4th morning – I have taken myself off to NABS  (Never A Better Sandwich) for a fresh baked Cinnamon bun, and dare I admit, sweet (tea). I am sitting outside listening to soft jazz, the most divine breeze stirring the leaves on the trees and the American flags flapping gently on the lamp posts. The Century Link Man in his service truck waves at me as he goes by. Peace!

The Douglas Block now and then: I can imagine the folks from years ago as if they are all still here. They appear like a ghost who steps through a wall or perhaps walking out of the cornfield as in the movie, Field of Dreams. Here they continue to shop, meet and greet, visiting the drug store, going to the movies, families with children in tow who have come to town. Once segregated, could they possibly imagine me sitting at the sidewalk cafe table listening for them, watching them from afar. I think about Ed Riley and Yalem, owners of the now-famous Smokehouse and this new coffee sandwich shop. If you know Ed, he is a great big bear of a man who gives hugs that rub the fur-fabric right off the proverbial Velveteen Rabbit. The sidewalk concrete space at the end of the building is waiting to be transformed into more outdoor seating.  With Yalem’s eye and creativity, I know it is going to be a destination.

I hope for a train to come by and am not disappointed.   I think too late to count the cars as we did when kids. There is no caboose at the end coming around the track, track, track. The long mile of cars heads south. After some photographs, I returned to the little table to further enjoy this scene, to honor The Douglas Block Story. This pleasant morning seems important to celebrate, to hope for all good things to come.

Take a minute and listen to Ella Fitzgerald singing It’s A Lovely Day Today…                           she got the whole scene just right.


Rocky Mount Farmers Market – A Great Destination – Sharing A Sweet Potato Recipe With You – Enjoy!

4813005261_8fea7ee87d_bMarket Location
1006 Peachtree St.
Rocky Mount, NC 

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons honey – 2 tablespoons olive oil – 1 teaspoon cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon salt – 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Dump potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Serves 4

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SFH Photographs – Enticing you to a Farm to Table Experience

Christmas on Main Street With Stepheny


This time of year Frank Sinatra’s version of I’ll be Home for Christmas usually makes me  homesick for the little girl I once was, and for my parents, and Christmas memories.  The Marshall Field’s Christmas windows in downtown Chicago were apart of those times. Because I have been doing a lot of thinking, researching, and talking to people about the downtown Rocky Mount buildings, the storefronts in particular, are on my mind…..These buildings, their history, and the exciting possibilities that are hovering over them if you have eyes to see. With my imagination, it didn’t take long to transpose the idea of the Field’s Christmas windows into the storefronts along Main Street. Click on the Sinatra link above to do your own remembering. Join me on a walk to see the Christmas windows that can be created once again with hard work and vision. When accomplished, future children’s memories of home will include Main Street at Christmas time. Merry Christmas!tumblr_lybcyk9hbY1r6ji5co1_500
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