Though the Herschell Companies in North Tonawanda produced thousands of beautiful hand-carved carrousels, Allan Herschell himself was not a carver. He was, however, part of a great wave of immigration in the late 19th century, with people coming to America in search of a better life. These hardy farmers and craftsmen were exactly the people that America needed at that time. They landed in New York City and came to Western New York via the Erie Canal. Many of those who settled in this area were classically trained carvers from Germany and other parts of Europe, and some found employment in the carving workforce of the Herschell factories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
But who were these immigrants, and what drove them to leave their home and travel thousands of miles to settle in a strange place? In the next installment of the "Carrousel Chat" lecture series, Randy Warblow from the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York will be at the museum on to discuss immigrants' motivations for leaving and what they found in America. Discover where these German settlers lived and worked, the skills they brought with them, and their lasting impact on Western New York communities on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.
Warblow is a trustee of the Das Haus German Heritage Museum in Niagara Falls. The museum focuses on the people, history, language and artifacts of the settlements in Western New York established by Prussian Lutherans who fled from religious persecution in the 19th century, their descendants, and the communities that grew from these villages. The museum is located in one of the original cabins that housed many families during their first winter in 1843.
Warblow has also previously served as a trustee of the North Tonawanda History Museum and is currently a trustee emeritus, member of the advisory committee, and an ex-officio trustee. His grandfather, Fred Jagow, was a carver at the Allan Herschell Company in the early 1900s.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is housed in the historic Allan Herschell Company Factory building at 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda. For directions and further information about special events, programs or group tours, visit www.carrouselmuseum.org, call 716-693-1885 or email [email protected].
This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.