CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Earlier this year, musician and artist Roger Lucas got an unusual telephone call.
"My phone rang one day. It was Chuck. He wanted to know if I knew anybody who could paint carousel horses. I thought he wanted a painting of a carousel horse," Lucas said.
"Then I realized it was the horses he wanted painted. I said I would try. I went up to his house and met him and saw the horses a couple of days later."
Chuck Green, an inspector for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and his wife, Katherine L. "Kitty" Dooley, a lawyer, bought two old bedraggled carousel horses at an auction in Terra Alta in Preston County, just before Memorial Day.
Dooley has been a life-long fan of carousel horses. Today, she has a collection of smaller replicas of the full-size horses in her Charleston home.
"I have collected miniature carousel horses for years, quite a lot of them. My favorite ride at the amusement park was always on the carousels," she said.
Green said he learned about the auction of the two carousel horses when "one of my co-workers, who is on E-Bay all the time, called me and told me about the upcoming auction at Terra Alta."
Lucas said, "One was in really bad shape. Chuck brought them over to my house on the West Side. They weigh a ton, so I leaned them onto both ends of our dining room table.
"It took me about a month to restore them and paint them. I would call Kitty and she would come over and discuss new colors for the horses.
"When I finished them, they rented a U-Haul truck and brought them to Ed Hillebrand in South Charleston, who built the stands."
Hillebrand, who specializes in creating high-quality wooden furniture, added floor bases and golden poles for both horses.
"He did a beautiful job. That took another month," Lucas said. "After Ed finished, some of the paint was scraped off. I touched them up and revarnished them at Kitty's house."
Dooley has a book about the history of carousel horses, which includes hundreds of photographs of the popular wooden animals.
"Her book gave me an idea of what she was looking for," Lucas said. "This was a different kind of project, something you don't get every day."