Refurbished Flying Horses reopening soon

The Flying Horses are a popular summer destination in Oak Bluffs. — Jeremy Driesen

The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust is announcing the unveiling of the restoration project for the national landmark, the Flying Horses Carousel. 

The newly restored carousel is planned to open Saturday, May 27th.

The Flying Horses Carousel, constructed back in 1876 at Coney Island in New York City, is the oldest platform carousel in the nation, until it found a new home in 1884, in Cottage City, now known as Oak Bluffs. It was designated as a National Landmark by the Department of the Interior, when Vineyard Preservation Trust in 1986 acquired and saved it from dismantling. 

Historic preservationists, Myles Thurlow and John C. Anderson, refurbished the original platform to meet the demands of the 300,000 riders who catch the brass rings each year. 

The restoration also includes the refurbishment of two iconic horses, King Coronet and Moshup, which have been given a fresh coat of paint by local artist Mary Ellen Casey. The remaining 18 horses now have new manes, tails, and the glass eyes.

To ensure the preservation of this historic landmark, the ‘Friends of Flying Horses’ fundraising campaign has been initiated, with a target of reaching $150,000. The funds will be used to complete the restoration of the horses and chariots, redesign the concessions area, and implement planned accessibility upgrades. 

Crafted by the Charles Dare Company to commemorate America’s centennial, the Flying Horses Carousel and its chariots were originally designed for easy transport and re-construction on fairgrounds. 

Nevette Previd, the Executive Director of the Vineyard Preservation Trust, considers The Flying Horses Carousel to be one of the top historic properties of its 20-historic properties. 

“The Flying Horses has been a rite of passage for islanders and a staple of every visitor’s experience,” Previd is quoted in a press release. “Thanks to our restoration partners and the fundraising efforts of the ‘Friends Of’ campaign, the charm of the Flying Horses and its elusive brass ring will continue to delight the young at heart, just as it did in the 19th century.”


  1. We as Island kids had so much fun on these. We used to see who could get the most rings during a ride. Erik Bruguiere was the best as I remember with his skinny long fingers he would grab a bunch at a time.

  2. That’s for sure, growing up in Edgartown/Katama I had to collect cans so I could ride the horses, I would hitch hike to OB , or if I was lucky I would get a ride from Kendall Willoughby to give me and Steven Gentle a ride, but it was always worth it especially when I got the bronz ring…

  3. That is great, Chad Mettell and myself would also get rides from Kendall Willoughby… he was such a great person.

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