by Pat Locke
Public transportation at Lake Compounce began in 1895 which brought thousands of park visitors to the park by trolley. In about that same year, Timothy Murphy began to assemble the historic carousel. He combined the works of 54 master carvers. Lake Compounce purchased it for $10,000 and opened it to the public on Memorial Day in 1911. The carousel was designed by German carver, Charles Looff and built in 1890. This rare surviving and operational Looff carousel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Special interest to boating history buffs is the fact that Lake Compounce purchased the first of three Chris Craft speedboats in May of 1929 for $2,800. At a cost of 15 cents for a thrilling ride around the lake, the boats paid for themselves by July. In 1943, Lake Compounce purchased a miniature steam railroad designed and built by British actor, William Gillette, portrayer of Sherlock Holmes. The following year more than 100,000 passengers rode on more than 35 tons of 17 gauge steel track. The train ride completely encircled the lake.