“If you will give it a home, and promise no one will ever take it apart, I will build A Carousel for Missoula.” That was the promise Missoula cabinet-maker Chuck Kaparich made to the Missoula City Council in 1991. And now, in the heart of town, is a Carousel for Missoula. The Carousel stands as a stellar of community involvement.
Kaparich, who had spent many childhood hours on the carousel at Columbia Gardens in Butte, Montana, had already carved four carousel ponies and had purchased an antique frame in thousands of pieces. The City Council agreed and the journey for our community began. This Carousel is only 15 minutes from our Missoula lodging, and a must-see for families!
A board of directors was formed to facilitate organization and fund raising, Kaparich taught others to carve, mechanics began the process of restoring 16,066 pieces, painters were recruited, and Missoula began working together to create a treasure.
By Opening Day, May 27, 1995, over 100,000 hours of volunteer time had gone into the construction of 38 permanent ponies, three replacement ponies, two chariots, 14 gargoyles and the largest band organ in continuous use in the United States, all within a jewel box building.
School children collected over one-million pennies to adopt four ponies! Although this beautiful piece of work started for the kids, it enriched the hearts and souls of all that worked on it! The project continued with the Dragon Hollow play area right next door to the merry-go-round. It took just nine days to erect this expansive play structure through the hard work of volunteers. This children’s play land is in the heart of Missoula. It would be a great place to stop during some window shopping while staying at our Montana Bed and Breakfast and have a picnic or let the kids run wild for a little while you get off your feet.
We have always been proud community members and are looking forward to sharing the beauty and wonder of the Bitterroot Valley with you when you come to our Missoula MT Bed and Breakfast. See you soon!