Faribault gives its history a ‘whirl’

St. Paul has its Peanuts characters, Chicago had its cows, Bemidji has its Paul and Babe, and Faribault has its Tilt-A-Whirl cars.

Or at least it will on Thursday when the second restored Tilt-A-Whirl car will be placed outside the State Bank of Faribault building.

Ain’t she a looker?

Photo courtesy of Tami Schluter via Minnesota Prairie Roots.

It’s an ongoing tribute to Herb Sellner, who invented the amusement park ride in 1926, a year before he started Sellner Manufacturing in the city.

“He put Faribault on the map, in my opinion,” Peggy Keilen tells the Faribault Daily News. She started working on bringing the cars back to the city about three years ago.

There’s another Tilt-A-Whirl car in the city — in front of Burkhartzmeyer Shoes — but that one was provided by the History Channel to promote one of its shows.

The History Channel restored a Title-A-Whirl car in 2015. Photo: Audrey Helbling, Minnesota Prairie Roots.

But the one to be unveiled this week has been restored by the former employees of Sellner, using donations and grants, including one from Faribault Charitable Gambling, according to the Faribault Daily News. Some of the old employees weren’t thrilled that the first project was outsourced.

“I had to rip all the sheet metal off, have it sandblasted and then put the sheet metal back on it,” said Dwight Henning, who ran the fiberglass division for Sellner. “Then, I had to do all the fiberglass and then I had to paint everything.”

“It’s neat to keep the history going,” said Karen Bussert. “I don’t want Sellner Manufacturing’s name to fall off. They have a big history in Faribault.” She designed the decals for the company.

Sellner is gone now, sold off to a Texas company in 2011.

Related: Community Pride: Showcasing The Tilt-A-Whirl, A Faribault Icon (Minnesota Prairie Roots)