Niagara Gazette

Communities

August 30, 2013

Plenty of stories behind Kiddieland exhibit in NT

Rides, area at new museum exhibit have a history all their own

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Rae Proefrock said they were able to come to a deal that pleased both sides.

"I think he was happy to know they were staying nearby," she said of Page. "We had contacted them in the past, and said we'd be interested in case he sold them."

Although the days of Page's Whistle Pig have passed, Page is still full of stories about the rides, their operation and those who have ridden them over the years, including couples headed to their senior proms, a group of FBI agents (who wanted to ride the helicopters) and even members of the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds.

However, he's looking forward to showing them to a few very special young riders sometime this opening weekend.

"It will be our first chance to show the rides to our grandchildren, this batch of grandchildren," he said, "and we're looking forward to that."

•••

Architect Michael Bray grew up around the museum, which holds portraits of his great-great-grandfather Wallace Olver (in the roundhouse) and great-grandfather Ward Olver (in the wood shop). His father, Ward Bray, was one of the original group of people who worked toward a carrousel museum in North Tonawanda, and still volunteers there.

So when museum director Rae Proefrock was seeking an architect to help with the Kiddieland project, she said, she knew exactly who to call.

"Michael's been here since he was a little boy, coming to ride the carrousel," she said. "We knew he was an architect; we knew we needed some help with the shelters. And he did everything. It was amazing."

Wallace and Ward Olver were artists, designing carrousels, painting murals and carving horses for Herschell-Spillman Co. and Allen Herschell Co. Bray assisted with art of another sort, working close to 400 hours pro bono to create civil engineering drawings, dealing with site layout, designing foundations and ride structures, working with contractors and dealing with issues including zoning, electrical and drainage — and, as he put it, putting all the pieces together.

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