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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Riders excited as Carousel resumes today


Jim Soules


November 4, 2011

Two cars and a van with young children sat patiently in St Augustine this afternoon, as Jim Soules made the final adjustments on the J&S Carousel at Davenport Park and readied the popular ride for the first round after its triumphant return from the maintenance barn.
Soules took Historic City News editor Michael Gold behind the scenes, so our readers could get a glimpse of the scope of repairs recently completed.
Working on the C. W. Parker, 1927 frame, new wood carousel, is a labor of love for Soules; who inherited the old-fashioned carnival ride from his brother, Jerry.
At the time of his death, Gerald Soules was living in North Las Vegas and working at the Circus, Circus Hotel and Casino performing a dog act under the big top. One night, in June of 1992, a man broke in to Jerry’s home, burglarized the trailer then murdered him.
Jim Soules was employed as a deputy sheriff and K-9 trainer in south Florida when he got word of what had happened to Jerry. The sheriff gave him time off to travel to Nevada and assist local authorities in their investigation. Jerry’s killer was found, convicted and now serving his prison sentence.
When Jim Soules returned to Florida, the ride, reminiscent of old time circuses and county fairs, was in service at a zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Soules brought the portable carousel to St. Augustine, and, after some minor controversies and objections, received approval and a lease from the City of St. Augustine.
Soules says operating the ride is something he does for his brother’s memory. “I operate the ride for Jerry,” Soules said. “There’s no way you could pay salaries, rent, and operating expenses for $1.00 a ride and think you were going to make a profit.”
When asked, Soules said that his children all have jobs and he doesn’t think they would want to run the carousel when he gets ready to retire — again. Soules, assisted by Wilson Machine Shop in St. Augustine and one other employee, does all the engineering and repairs on the ride required to keep the it safe and fun for his loyal patrons. “I don’t think I’ll sell it,” Soules told Historic City News. “I’ve probably got another twenty years in meread more:
http://www.historiccity.com/2011/staugustine/news/florida/riders-excited-carousel-resumes-today-20402

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