Knowing the state of Montana had limited funds for public rest areas within Montana communities and along our rural byways, Mr. Harry Benjamin sought an opportunity to create a public gathering place for residents and visitors to Shelby as well as travelers going through along Highway 2 or Interstate 15. We are a crossroads along the main east/west corridor of Montana and the nation located right on Highway 2. Then to add to this we are on Interstate 15 North and South coming out of Alberta, Canada and going all the way to the southern portion of our country. The Carousel Rest Area idea was sparked when a traveling carnival sought Mr. Benjamin's skills to fix a carousel. Mr. Benjamin, a retired farmer has utilized his mechanical skills for many years building tractors and pedal cars for children. He has also constructed a small train and provides rides for children at local fairs and parades each year.
In 2016, his mechanical skills were called upon to fix a carousel at the Marias Fair. From this he learned the carousel was for sale. This sparked the idea of establishing a permanent carousel for the children of Shelby as well as for travelers and visitors to our community. He traveled across the country to look at various carousels, finally selecting the very carousel he had repaired earlier. Using personal funds, he purchased the carousel and began a community-wide effort to restore the historic carousel, finance and construct a carousel house and establish a non-profit organization to operate and maintain the carousel. The 1936 Allan Herschell carousel has been beautifully restored; carousel house completed and the grand opening celebrated on May 19, 2018.
The mission and goal of the Carousel Rest Area is to provide a gathering place for entertainment, celebrations, social gatherings and public restroom facilities~Welcoming all to Shelby. The Carousel is hoped to bring families to Shelby to enjoy the beautiful, historic carousel and to serve as a wonderful new amenity adding to the appeal of the community which includes Champion Park, Marias Museum of History & Art, Shelby Pool & Splash Park, Marias Valley Golf Course, Roadrunner Recreation Trail, Veterans Memorial Park and numerous city parks and public spaces. It will provide a resting stop for travelers following the dinosaur trails along Highway 2 or park travelers on their way to Glacier National Park or the Canadian Rockies. It will appeal to history buffs, amusement park enthusiasts and most importantly!those looking for fun, family entertainment.
The carousel hopes to provide family fun as well as entertainment for all ages. We are looking forward to hosting parties and gatherings of all types at the carousel and welcome everyone to contact us if they would like to have an event, party, celebration, reunion, reception or any other gathering they can imagine! Big or small, we will help you plan your next occasion.