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Chicago: City of the Century
The Film and More
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Do You Know Chicago?
Decades of Immigrants
Made in Chicago
Faces in the Crowd
Eight Anarchists
Then and Now
Your Kind of Town

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Made in Chicago: The Ferris Wheel previous 18 of 18


The Ferris Wheel The Ferris wheel debuted at Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition. To outdo the Eiffel Tower, the landmark attraction at the previous World's Fair, designer George Ferris built a 250-foot-diameter wheel on a massive, forty-five-ton axle. Sixty riders per car thrilled to the ascent and descent from the 264-foot pinnacle. "The World's Greatest Ride" was reused at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, then dynamited and sold for scrap metal.

The ride lived on, as amusement park goers of today know. Coney Island entrepreneur George C. Tilyou saw the wheel during his honeymoon at the fair. He ordered a half-size version and brought it to New York, where it became the centerpiece of Steeplechase Park.

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