The Bopps after Jamaica
When the Bopp family left Kingston in the steamer Hondo on December 30, 1891, Louis snr was 25 years old and described as a carver (obviously of wooden carousels); his wife, Kate, was 23 and their son, Louis jnr, was 5. It is not so far clear where Louis Bopp and his family were in the rest of the 1890s, though probably they were in New York.
It is known that Louis Bopp trained as an apprentice at the Looff carving shop at Coney Island in New York, and at some time in the early years of the 20th century settled in Revere Beach, Massachusetts. There he earned the soubriquet the “King of the Carousel”. He and his son, Louis jnr, operated at least four machines - the Hippodrome, a Looff carousel; the Teddy Bear; the Stein and Goldstein Rough Riders; and a carousel at Wonderland Park, a large amusement park which operated from 1906 to 1911. They continued their successful partnership until 1919, when Louis jnr died in the great Spanish ‘Flu epidemic at the early age of 33. Although Louis struggled on, to support his daughter-in-law and Louis jnr’s three children, he was a broken man after his son’s death; he died in Florida in March 1923.
Louis Bopp’s carousels lived on, well into the second half of the 20th century. The Hippodrome carousel with its 70 horses, five abreast, 2 gondolas, 2 seesaws and two rockers, was purchased in the 1960s by the Hurleys, earlier the main competitors of the Bopps at Revere Beach. Then it was sold to Circus World, stored for a decade and finally broken up at auction. But the “King of the Carousels” is still alive to the many carousel enthusiasts and researchers.