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First Person: Balboa Park Carousel Operator Has Worked There Since He Was 16, Now He’s 60

Bill Brown is pictured at the Balboa Park Carousel, Aug. 11, 2017.

Photo by Brooke Ruth

Above: Bill Brown is pictured at the Balboa Park Carousel, Aug. 11, 2017.

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Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.

Not many people work at the same place from their first day of work until retirement.

But Bill Brown has. He has worked at the Balboa Park Carousel since he was 16. He is now 60 and plans to be there until he retires.

"I used to always like to go down there when I was a child and I noticed how much fun everyone that worked there was having and I asked the owner, Virginia Long, at the time how old you had to be and she said 16. So as soon as I was 16, I came down and I've been there ever since," Brown said.

This summer, the Friends of Balboa Park purchased the carousel. The group is now in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $3 million to pay for the carousel and begin restoration.

The carousel was built in 1910 and brought to Coronado in 1913. In 1915, the carousel was moved to Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition. It was in the park for two years before being moved back to Coronado. It was brought back to the park in 1922 and has been there ever since.

As part of our First Person series, Brown tells us about his and the carousel's history.

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