Another Ferris Wheel Made in Chicago

Ferris wheel and old Vienna village
Source: Special Collections, C.D. Arnold Photographic Collection, Vol. X, Plate 62

Navy Pier turned 100 this year, and the new Centennial Wheel made its maiden voyage.

The Ferris wheel is no stranger to Chicago. The first Ferris wheel was built especially for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was tasked with creating something so stunning and special that it would "out-Eiffel" even the Eiffel Tower, inaugurated at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

The wheel at the 1893 fair was at the center of the Midway. Standing 264 feet tall, it offered riders stunning views of Chicago and the fair. Each of the 36 cars could carry up to 60 passengers. For 50 cents, riders completed two revolutions in 20 minutes.

ferris wheel and balloon
Source: Special Collections, C.D. Arnold Photographic Collection, Vol. X, Plate 78

Most people remember Erik Larson's bestseller The Devil in the White City for its gruesome account of serial killer H.H. Holmes. However, it also tells the story of building the fair and the Ferris wheel, too.

The Devil in the White City is available in other formats.

Will you make a trip to Navy Pier to ride the Centennial Wheel? Let us know in the comments.