The Carousel

The Cowboy Carousel Center is a project of the Carousel Committee that is working on the revitalization of the historic Beutler’s Building in downtown Buffalo on Lobban in the developing arts district known as Artisan’s Row. The idea is to purchase both this historic 1925 Spillman Carousel with locally crafted horses, refurbish it and relocate it as the center piece of the old Beutler’s building in Buffalo’s Downtown Historic District.


This will bring history, art and much-needed economic and community centered activity to the downtown district. This is a projected designed after the unanimously approved Buffalo Downtown Plan of 2008 and follows classic Wyoming Main Street ideas. Before he died, Emerson Scott, sold the the historic carousel to the Buffalo Development Association to develop a downtown location for it or by another other public entity. Along with the originals of the carved horses, Steamboat and the Indian Pony (see below) there is a wagon and a sleigh constructed just for this this carousel’s theme based on historic events in the Big Horn Mountain region of Wyoming.


This carousel is important, therefore, historically as a 1925 Spillman Carousel and artistically, as a carousel restored with horses and figures carved by noted local artisans, which makes Artisan’s Row on Lobban in Buffalo the perfect location. As such, it would be an important cornerstone to Buffalo’s historic downtown district and is certainly an important cultural part of Buffalo’s history that will be preserved for generations to come. Add to this a center for the arts, music, film, classes for art and art education, education for the community, a community events and meeting place — along with the fact that the Cowboy Carousel is much beloved and a major tourist attraction — and the groundwork has been laid for a successful new life for this historic carousel in its 87th year.

The Arts District

The Cowboy Carousel, manufactured at North Tonawanda, New York in 1925, ran for 63 years on Gillian’s Fun Deck in Ocean City, New Jersey (until 1987). The horses that are now on the carousel are fiberglass reproductions of original wood carvings by local renowned Buffalo artist and wood-carver, Bill Jennings. There are 24 jumping and bucking horses on the carousel arranged in two rows — the Indian ponies are all on the inside surrounded by the Cowboy horses on the outside. It’s a unique carousel and the only Carousel in Wyoming — and the ONLY Cowboy-Indian Carousel in the world!

The lead horse on the carousel is painted to represent Steamboat, the famous Wyoming bucking horse. Steamboat bucked at Cheyenne Frontier Days from 1903 to 1914 and was ridden twice in his career. The Indian pony is Little Soldier, a pony ridden by a Crow scout at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. The Indian symbols painted on the pony represent various Indian signs to assist the horse in battle.

The Seventh Cavalry Horse, complete with authentically carved McClelland saddle and U.S. Cavalry issue bit, is painted to represent Commanche. Commanche was ridden by Captain Miles Keogh at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (or the Battle of Greasy Grass, as Native peoples refer to the battle) who was the sole survivor of General Custer’s immediate command.

Original Spillman Historic Details on Buffalo’s Cowboy Carousel
The Spillman Carousel has been restored as closely as possible to its original colors. A picture of this machine in its original condition hangs in the Smithsonian Institute.

The Cowboy Carousel is now an important part of Buffalo’s history. Because of Emerson and Anne Scott’s vision, this historic carousel came to Buffalo. And because of Emerson and Anne’s wonderful vision, they had a great local artist create the first and still the only Western Cowboy Indian Carousel in the world ! And what makes this historic carousel so special to this area is that it is based on historic details and events based in the Bighorn Mountain region of Wyoming.

This Cowboy Carousel is a treasure worth preserving and once again making an active part of our community here in the Bighorn Mountain region of Johnson and Sheridan County. Help us save it, make a great new home for it, and in doing so become a lasting and honored part of our Wyoming Western history.

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