Lincoln County, Mo. - Tucked away in Lincoln County lies a back-yard marvel: A fully functional, privately owned carousel. Like a scene on a postcard, a four horse carousel 20 feet in diameter stands as possibly the most intricate, unique lawn-ornament in Lincoln County. The owner, Schuler, offered one-time access to the carousel and its history on the terms that its location not be disclosed.
In 2019, the property on which the carousel sat caught Schuler’s eye on the real estate market. Once Schuler discovered that the owner had no plan to move the carousel after selling the property itself, Schuler’s intentions were set.
She shared, “By the time I got here, I had 6 minutes left in my showing. My realtor said, ‘Before we go any further, that [carousel] will come with the property.’ I said ‘O.K.’; give them an asking price.”
Schuler’s offer went through, and the property was hers. After acquiring the property, she was shown by a gentleman named Mark how to operate the carousel. Intermittently refurbished, the age of the carousel itself is a mystery dating back at least a few decades. According to Schuler, the gentleman who built it was surnamed Smith, and he had a great fascination for carousels and their horses.
Smith’s late wife made ceramics including carousel horses, though none of them are featured on this model. With skills as a carpenter, Smith designed, built and assembled the whole structure as a gift and symbol of love for his youngest granddaughter.
Although the carousel shows a few signs of deterioration, it remains in shockingly good shape, despite its age. The horses once bobbed up and down while the carousel spun, but due to continual jamming, they were fastened to stay in place. Schuler intends to fix this and restore the carousel further when she finds the time. In fact, she fancies operating her own “mini-carnival”.
“I’d like to fix [the horses] and I want to put lights all over this thing,” shared Schuler. “I have a commercial snow cone machine, cotton candy machine, popcorn machine and a hotdog steamer all to have my own little carnival”
Although it has yet to be in a carnival, the carousel is still a location for celebration and festivities. Schuler enjoys sharing drinks with her comrades on the supersized toy, referring to the occasion as “Cocktails and Carousels”. She owns her carousel full-tilt, having acquired custom made cozies and a vanity license plate to show her pride. Schuler even went as far as to name the four horses – Jeff, Dozer, Bruh and Steve
Owning the carousel has brought Schuler more notability than she predicted. Although eager to share the contraption with the public, impatient citizens have regularly trespassed on the property, causing Schuler to putt up a fence and warning signs about trespassing. The location is so popular, in fact, that it became a “level” for a virtual reality I-phone game.
Schuler, who possesses multiple properties across Lincoln County, intends to keep the carousel even if she sells the property it sits on. Despite its size and the difficulty of moving it, her affection for the ride is unwavering. “Wherever we are, its coming with us,” shared Schuler. “They move full houses; we’ll be fine”
Aside from running her own private carnival, Schuler entertains the idea of renting the carousel out for events and photo-shoots, after first refurbishing it. Until then, it creates happiness for those who use it, marvel for those who pass it by, and a little bit of wonder for all of Lincoln County.