In 1867 Gustav Dentzel founded the Dentzel Carouse Company in Philadelphia, PA. In 1905, Gustav’s “Duchess” menagerie carousel opened at Ontario Beach Park where it has since entertained many generations of Rochesterians.
Recently, a debate has erupted concerning one of the ride’s painted panels; two black children—or more accurately, picaninnies—being harassed by a rooster. Stereotypical depictions of black children such as these were intended to dehumanize blacks and provide entertainment for whites at their expense. There’s no debate here. It is what it is. The question is what do to with the panel…
Some have called for it to be removed or replaced with something different. Others believe it should be preserved – either in place, or in another setting where it can be used to educate future generations about America’s history and the pitfalls of racism and bigotry.
Bill Dentzel is the great-grandson of Gustav Dentzel. In a letter to Rochester’s Preservation Board dated August 4, 2015, Bill suggests that the panel may be moved, but should not be discarded as “garbage”…
For those in the Rochester community who have a hard time understanding why the Dentzel carousel painted picaninny panel disallows African-American families and children from a carefree experience at Ontario Beach Park, I encourage you consider that you are not the butt of the joke…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.