George W.G. Ferris needed to come up with something grand. The Eiffel Tower had gotten a lot of attention at the Paris exhibition of 1889. He sketched his big idea on a dinner napkin–and the world’s first Ferris wheel was born!
Towering above all, the first Ferris wheel was a monster! Unveiled at the Chicago’s 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition, it was an incredible feat of engineering. Forty seats were situated inside the thirty-six wood-paneled gondola cars. After paying a reasonable $.50 for a ticket, folks would rise 250 feet into the air! At that price, it even beat out the hot air balloons. It took a full twenty minutes to reach the top.
After awhile, the Ferris wheel lost its allure as folks looked for “the next big thing.” The Ferris wheel was dynamited. Some say that the scrap steel was purchased by Kouts, Indiana farmer Issac Dunn. They believe that he used the metal from the Ferris wheel to make a bridge. Others holds that he did purchase scrap from the fair but that it was from the remnants of the Indiana House, and not the Ferris wheel. Either way, it’s a neat story! I like to think of it as a Ferris wheel, that someone’s big idea didn’t go to waste, but was instead re-purposed into something that is still in use today. What do you think? What do you want to believe? Share it in the comments below!
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!
Kouts, IN 46347
This map is a bit off. Zoom in and you should see Dunns Bridge plotted just north of where it is shown on the map.
Just don’t forget to tell ’em that little Indiana sent you!
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