The Tennessee Foxtrot Carousel is no ordinary attraction. The kinetic sculpture celebrates Tennessee history and culture, featuring steam engines, riverboats, giant banjos, mountain scenery, and over-the-top caricatures ranging from Sequoia to Chet Atkins to Tom Ryman.
Yet for 15 years, the beloved carousel has been stuck in storage.
That has prompted several Curious Nashville listeners to ask: Why did it go away? Where did the pieces end up? Will it ever spin again?
More: Transcript for this episode (PDF)
Part of the answer for the long hiatus lies in the fact the carousel also carries significance in the art world. It was designed by Nashville-born pop artist Red Grooms, and must be handled with care.
That’s one of many insights that WPLN’s Chas Sisk has gleaned while keeping tabs on the carousel for the past three years.
Now, as there’s hope for the carousel’s comeback, Curious Nashville traces the carousel’s origin, demise, time spent in a secret government warehouse, and the efforts underway to bring it back.
- Tennessean photo gallery
- NewsChannel 5 ‘Flashback’ report from 1998
- Artist rallies to resurrect the carousel (Tennessean)
- Brooks Museum gallery show images and audio
Curious Nashville is a project of Nashville Public Radio. The executive producer is Tony Gonzalez, with editing by Emily Siner and Anita Bugg, audio mastering by Carl Pedersen, and web production by Mack Linebaugh. The theme music is by Podington Bear.