DOT worker finds and returns antique Carousel piece
(9/22/2006) Michael Bianchi, a maintainer for the State Department of Transportation, will be honored Monday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. at the Lighthouse Point Park Carousel for thinking smart. He will proudly wear his DOT vest and hat.
Bianchi was poking up trash for the DOT along 1-91 North at Trumbull Street ( exit 3) when he came across an unusual site – a wooden leg - but not a human prosthesis. Mr. Bianchi had found the missing lower leg of Quicksilver – the largest and one of the most popular antique horses at New Haven’s Lighthouse Point Park Carousel. “I knew when I picked it up, it was not junk – it was heavy, beautifully carved and well painted - so I put it in the cab of the truck to see if I could solve the mystery of why it was on the side of the embankment.”
After a bit of thought, Mr. Bianchi remembered having a “blast” at his cousin’s wedding at the Carousel and wondered if this could possibly be a piece of one of those antique horses. Luck continued for Quicksilver. Not long after he found the leg piece, Bianchi was in line at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on Foxon Boulevard. Standing in front of him was Park’s Department foreman John Sehl, wearing a Park’s Department t-shirt. Bianchi spoke right up about his “find” and Sehl confirmed with the Carousel event coordinator that yes, the leg had gone missing over a month ago.
Parks Director Robert Levine said parks department staffers “are truly ecstatic and so grateful to Mr. Bianchi over having this leg found and returned for reattachment to the cherished Quicksilver.”
Bianchi will turn the leg over to the parks department, and William R. Finkenstein ( an expert in carousel restoration – just back from saving carousel horses ravaged by Katrina in New Orleans) will begin the process of re-attaching the leg.
About the Carousel: The Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park was built in 1916 and is on the National Register of Historic Places (1983). Quicksilver is one of 75 horses and two chariots hand carved by Charles Looff of Rhode Island and Charles Carmel of Brooklyn. The City of New Haven purchased the Carousel and Lighthouse Park in 1925.
New Haven’s Friends of the Carousel led the community backed charge to restore, refurbish and recondition the Carousel building and its treasure of sculptures in the 1980’s and today, it serves the public during summer hours and is rented for private events 7 months a year.