I love the story of how this antique carousel ended up in a northern Montana community of 3,000. Thanks goes to a 87-year-old retired farmer who is obviously a man of vision and talent, Harry Benjamin.
The carousel was a traveling ride for fairs and carnivals when it broke down in 2016. Benjamin was recruited to make repairs. An idea germinated in his head, why not install a permanent carousel for the children (of all ages) of Shelby and travelers. After checking out carousels around the country he learned that the one he had repaired was for sale in Reno, Nevada.
Benjamin purchased the 1936 Allen Herschell creation with his own money and brought it to Shelby. The community, including inmates at a nearby private prison, joined the renovation effort, repainting the carousel animals, constructing a building and raising funds for maintenance. A rest area was established in front of the carousel facility.
One horse stands out in red, white and blue with a bald eagle in flight decorating the saddle. It is dedicated to the Wounded Warrior Project. “No Riders” is requested out of respect.
For travelers headed to or from Glacier National Park on US2 and those traveling to or from Canada on I-15 this makes a perfect stop to get out of the car, stretch the legs, have a snack or picnic lunch at the rest area, ride the carousel and enjoy an ice cream cone.
The ice cream is Wilcoxson’s, a Montana treasure for over a century. It is made in Livingston, MT using fresh local ingredients. We savored scoops of huckleberry and Caramel Sea Salt Truffle during our visit – very, very yummy.
When You Go: Carousel Rest Area of Shelby is located at 441 11th Avenue N, behind the Pizza Hut on US2. From I-15 use exit 363 and head east a few blocks. Check http://www.shelbycarousel.com for hours or call 406-424-8444.