Five Invisible Threads Holding A Carousel True To Purpose

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”  ― Friedrich Nietzsche

My husband and I are members of Botanica, The Wichita Gardens.  This is the new home for the Joyland Carousel which opened to the public fall of 2019.  We visited the building site several times while it was under construction.

Invisible threadsThen as an anniversary outing, in December 2019, we signed up for the VIP Carousel Ride.  The venue, detail and restoration are stunning.  At the same time, it is just plain fun!

Invisible threads

I had never visited the Joyland Amusement Park founded by the Ottoways in 1949.  This is where the carousel resided for 50+ years.  Although still active until 2004, I simply never had a reason to check it out.
I love seeing lost things found and restored.  So when the Joyland carousel was donated to Botanica, my ears perked up.  As a member of Botanica, I had followed the plans to relocate and restore this wonderful icon. Her new life is as close to heaven for a carousel as it can get:  In the midst of well tended gardens in a secure protected structure. Bravo!
Even though direct personal experience with this carousel and Joyland was late coming to me, invisible threads have woven their way into our lives.
First, as as I said, I love seeing things of value restored.  Value, not just in monetary terms, but value at a deeper more visceral level.  It fuels our passion for restoring our historic home, Maison Steinbuchel.
Second, as written about in a previous post, part of the land Botanica sits on was originally a part of the Stackman-Steinbuchel-Hahn homestead, the family for whom our Kansas Historic home is named.
Third, the the connection to the Chance family.  This family started the Chance manufacturing company.  It was the Joyland train that sparked the emergence of this Wichita based enterprise.

Aviation, Flight and Air Traffic Control

This connection too, is more visceral than direct, yet special.  You see, I knew Mary Chance Van Scyoc, but not not through the amusement park connection but rather through air traffic control!
I met Mary in the 1990s through my local Kansas 99s chapter, a global women’s pilot organization founded by Amelia Erhart.  Mary was an accomplished private pilot and quite a personality.
It was later I discovered she had been the first woman air traffic controller at Denver Airways Control Center, the predecessor to the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center where I began my air traffic career.  She was also the first woman controller at the Wichita Airport Traffic Control Tower, where I later worked on staff and in supervision.
 Mary paved the way for me.  She was an inspiration not only as an air traffic controller, but as an early woman pilot, even learning to fly helicopters in her 60s!  The last time I spoke with her, she was still active and overflowing with life.

Back to Joyland

Another Chance (no pun intended) connection is through the artist who is restoring the horses for the Joyland carousel who began her career at Chance manufacturing.  I have not met her but have seen her work.  Magnificent.  So the circle continues….
One last connection to Joyland.  We own a BMW Isetta we purchased from the Ottoway collection awaiting restoration in storage.  Perhaps some of the restoration spirit going into the carousel will drift through these obscure connections and breathe life into that project!

The Joyland Invisible Threads

Invisible threadsSo, when I visit Botanica and see the carousel turning, I see more than the exquisite restorations.  I see:
  • the artist who was trained at the company
  • that was begun by furnishing a train to the amusement park
  • from which the carousel was rescued
  • that will sit on the land homesteaded by the family
  • for whom my home was named
And I see Mary Chance Van Scyoc who paved the way for me to be in Wichita, Kansas, USA and driving our BMW Isetta to Joyland to see the carousel, and watch it go round and round and round…

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

3 thoughts on “Five Invisible Threads Holding A Carousel True To Purpose

  1. Hi Nancy,
    This is so fascinating! We took the kids to Joyland a couple of times. I need to go check it out in its new home 🙂
    I appreciate your Blog!
    God bless you my friend!

    1. Thank you! Connecting the dots, or those “ah Ha” moments do something special to the soul, don’t they? I hope this inspires us all to pause and look just a bit longer – who knows what will emerge! Blessings!

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