New Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
New Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier (Image courtesy of The City of Chicago and Navy Pier)

Early on Tuesday morning, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Navy Pier announced that the iconic Navy Pier Ferris Wheel is going to be replaced by a new wheel to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Navy Pier. Construction on the wheel will begin in September 2015 and is expected to be ready for the Summer of 2016.

Standing at 196 feet tall, the 20 year old wheel’s replacement is the DW60 and was designed by the Netherland based Dutch Wheels Company. This new ferris wheel will be the first of its model in the United States and one of only three in the world. Another feature that will be in the new wheel is the length of the ride. Instead of the current 7 minute/one rotation ride that passengers currently receive, the new wheel will last 12 minutes and passengers will circle the wheel three times before completion.  Additionally, each gondola on the new wheel will hold 10 passengers (the current wheel can hold 6) and will also be equipped with TV screens and speaker systems.

1893 Worlds Fair Ferris Wheel
1893 World’s Fair Ferris Wheel (Photograph from the Library of Congress)

Unbeknownst to most, even the new ferris wheel will still be shorter than Chicago’s (and the world’s) first ferris wheel. The original wheel, constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. in 1893 stood at a whopping 264 feet tall and was the centerpiece of the 1893 World’s Fair.

The institution of a new wheel at Navy Pier contributes greatly to Mayor Emmanuel’s Elevate Chicago plan. Upon the announcement of the new wheel, Mayor Emmanuel said, “The redevelopment of Navy Pier is a vital to our ongoing efforts to attract 55 million visitors annually to the City of Chicago by 2020, creating new jobs and injecting millions of dollars into our local economy.” In 2014, Chicago brought in approximately 50 million visitors. With such an ambitious goal at hand, the city has high hopes for Navy Pier’s new ferris wheel.

Information for this post received from the Press Release made by the City of Chicago