Flower Mart’s Soundtrack

March 15, 2019

the All Hallows Guild Carousel Caliola

The All Hallows Guild’s antique carousel

Since 1963 All Hallows Guild has owned the historic traveling carousel (circa 1890) that appears each year at Flower Mart.

Before catching a glimpse of the carousel, Flower Mart visitors hear the music of the 1937 Wurlitzer caliola calling them to ride. The caliola itself, though newer than the carousel, is a work of art. It plays piano-style music rolls, and has 44 brass pipes to play the notes.

Making the Music

Mr. Compton at work – tuning the caliola

The Caliola is powered by electricity, which activates a complicated set of leather and wood bellows that provide the air through the pipes. Mr. Edward Compton, who donates his services to the Guild, tends the pipes and bellows every year. Mr. Compton has carefully patched and repaired the caliola, but has advised the Guild that it requires more extensive rebuilding.

Preserving the Carousel and Caliola

One of several music rolls

In 1986 Mr. Durward Center of Historical Instrument Restorations in Baltimore restored the vacuum pump and pneumatics. It is time for another overhaul and the caliola will soon travel to Baltimore for extensive work. The pressure pump, valves, and pipe stoppers will be releathered and the crankshaft and roll frame checked and repaired as necessary. Mr. Center will inspect the music roll mechanism and replace any worn parts. The wooden casing is showing wear and craftsmen will repair and refinish the case and polish and lacquer the brass pipes.

The cost of all the work on the carousel itself is more than $50,000. We are determined to preserve this piece of the Guild’s and our nation’s heritage but we ask you to join us by giving funds for this project.

A Cathedral painting decorates the lower section of the caliola cover

All Hallows Guild is working to spotlight our historic carousel and to restore both the animals and the caliola so that our prize can continue sounding its “Pied Piper” call over the Cathedral grounds during the first Friday and Saturday of May for years to come.

To learn more about our carousel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places click HERE

The caliola bellows
A painting of the Baptistry building adorns the top of the caliola cover


All Hallows Guild was founded in 1916 to provide for the care and beautification of the grounds of Washington National Cathedral. The Guild works closely with the horticultural staff to preserve this historic landscape and raises funds for renovation and renewal of the gardens.


  • (202) 537-2937
  • ahg@allhallowsguild.org
  • 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016


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