Ferris Wheel Day

Today is Ferris Wheel Day! George Ferris was the inventor of the first ferris wheel for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

As a child, Ferris had viewed the water wheels in Carson City and wondered what it would be like to ride in one of the buckets. So when Daniel Burnham wanted a signature engineering marvel to top the Eiffel Tower, Ferris turned his childhood fancy into sketches on dinner napkins.

His struggle to create this engineering marvel is part of the drama in “The Devil in the White City,” the hugely popular non-fiction book about a serial killer who used the Exhibition as cover and backdrop for his sociopathy.

Although profitable for the Exposition, the eponymous wheel was not so for George Ferris. The original wheel was seized because of bankruptcy and ended up as landfill in the Mississippi delta (1906) after failing to excite visitors to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

But, now Ferris wheels can be seen at every amusement park and fair in the country. Today Navy Pier is offering two-for-one rides on Chicago’s own immense wheel. Take your sweetheart and marvel at this feat of engineering and monument to Americans’ competitiveness.






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