Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Carousel at Almeda Mall

In the early 90s, Almeda Mall removed the pineapple fountain and installed, for a short time, a carousel at center court.

I had not yet located a photo of it in the mall itself until this past trip, when I happened on just a piece of it as a backdrop for a yearbook photo of the Dobie Choir in 1994.

I first read about it in 2015, in the Cite-31 Winter-Spring 1994 issue in an article entitled "Gulfgate: the Mall Generation Gap" by Bruce C. Webb.

I had been doing what little online research I could on Almeda and came across this paragraph:

When I posted a query on our Almeda Mall Facebook page, quite a few readers recalled it.

According to Major Henderson, the first carousel was the double-decker referenced in the Webb article which was replaced by a single level carousel after that. 

Johnny Kurt Campbell remembers installing it, writing, "I have no photos but I put it in. It required two tow trucks, one on each side of the fountain to stand up the center mast. Very similar in finish to the one posted above. The mall never owned the carousel while I was there, the spec was leased to the operator."

Digging around, this is what the double decker would have looked like from afar:

Finding a full photo of this, actually in Almeda, with its skylight overhead, is on a my top-ten South Belt photos wish list. (To be fair, that list is quite long.)

The double decker one eventually made its way over to San Jacinto Mall in Baytown in 1998, and spun its last August 31, 2016, according to The Baytown Sun.

The single-deck Phillip Schneider would have looked like this:

So, as always, a plea: if you are reading this and have a photo of the carousel in Almeda, please comment or message me if you are willing to share!

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