LYNN — The Little Theatre School has been educating kids for more than 75 years. Now its owner is asking older Lynners for a lesson in the building’s history.
Winn Hackett, who bought Little Theatre in 2011, has spent the last six years researching the history behind the antique carousel that sits behind the nursery school.
“The owner before me bought the school in 1987 and the owner before that was Terry Ballou who bought the school in 1971,” she said. “Terry was able to give me some background on the carousel before she passed away a few years ago in her 80s, but I have been in contact with her daughter Sandee Lee Ballou Giller since.”
Hackett thought the carousel was donated to the nursery in the early 1970s, but Giller said she remembered seeing it at the school when she attended in 1968. Giller went to the Little Theatre before her mother purchased the facility, which makes the antique older than Little Theatre’s current owner originally thought.
“I know it was at Little Theatre in the ’70s but I don’t know how many years it was in operation in Lynn,” Hackett said. “Calculating Terry’s age the carousel has to be at least 65-70 years old so the people who would know any history on this have to be at least 80 years old.”
Hackett was told by Ballou, the second owner of the nursery, that when she lived in Lynn as a little girl she remembered riding the carousel, which was mounted on a trailer and taken around the city. She would pass out cupcakes as part of a Hostess Cupcake Company promotion. It’s unclear if Hostess had once owned the carousel. The company did not return a message from The Item seeking comment.
The current owner of the Little Theatre School reached out in vain to Hostess Cupcakes in hopes of getting more information. Hackett also pointed out a metal plate underneath the carousel that provided the name “Bert Lane Co. Inc. from Miami, Florida,” along with the serial number 1088.
After finally finding someone who specializes in fixing carousels, Hackett hopes to get the carousel back in working order. If she can get it up and running by the spring, Hackett said she’ll invite all Little Theatre alumni back to the nursery for a carousel launch party.
“If everything works out I would like to invite Hostess Cupcakes to come back because that would be very exciting for myself, our alumni, and our current students,” she said.
If you or anyone you know has any information about the history of this carousel, please reach out to Winn Hackett at the Little Theatre School.