The "Big Eli" Wheel
Backstory and Context
It was the year of 1893 and W.E. Sullivan had traveled up to Chicago, Illinois. His reason was for the World’s Fair known as the Columbian Exposition. During his visit at the Columbian Exposition, He saw his very first Ferris Wheel. He was astounded at the beauty and elegance of the contraption. After taking his first ride on Mr. Ferris’ Wheel he was overwhelmed with joy and wanted more. So he decided to make his own ferris wheel.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sullivan had a bridge building company back home in Roodhouse, IL called Eli Bridge Company. He had came up with an idea to turn his company into a Ferris Wheel building company. In contrast the “Eli Bridge Company” was conceived in the year of 1900, but it was not incorporated until the year of 1906 when Mr. Sullivan had taken on capital investors to mass-produce his wheels. The company also just doesn't serve its customers here in the U.S. they are providing their products worldwide. There was a lot of judgment and doubt from his family and the business community of Roodhouse about his ideas and wishes of making his very first and own Ferris Wheel. Without support from family and the community, he still decided to make his own Ferris Wheel on March 23, 1900 with the help of a machinist named James H. Clements. Exactly a two months later on May 23, 1900 he had finished the “Big Eli” Wheel and as soon as Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Clements were finished with the ferris wheel they had decided to put it in the Community park of Jacksonville Illinois where it still sits today fully functional and it is kept up to par every year. You can also go and see on the plaque near the ferris wheel about the travels around the us and mexico it had made. But it drew more attention then he would've ever imagined Because of the “Big Eli” wheel this town is known as the “Big Eli City” or the “FerrisWheel City.” The company has also produced“Big Eli”Wheels for Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton. Michael Jackson’s wheel is at his Neverland Ranch in California, and Dolly Parton’s wheel is at Dollywood in Tennessee. Besides, famous stars owning there own “Big Eli” wheels, there are also many different movies that other “Big Eli” wheels have been apart of. For example, there is State Fair starring Pat Boone, Roustabout starring Elvis Presley, and Hearts of Atlantis.After building his first “Big Eli” Wheel, Sullivan made a big decision to turn his company into a ferris wheel production company. He had moved his new idea for a company to Jacksonville, IL after putting his Ferris Wheel in the central park. In 1955, Eli Bridge Company produced its first non-wheel amusement ride called the scrambler. Even though they produce very few rides they have many different series to each ride. There is for example in the Wheels series the Eagle, Signature, HY-5, Aristocrat, and Standard. In the Scramblers series there is Next Generation, Standard, and Lil’ Scrambler. But the “Big Eli” wheels have turned out to be there top sellers for years and still are. His company has and still is there since the move in 1919. The Building was tall enough to build ferris wheels in it, and since the move it has added several additions to it making the size of the building 76,000 square-feet. The ferris wheel is still in use today and can be ridin on Sundays from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. through Memorial day to Autumn and on Holidays. There are still doing amazing today making people happy and well appreciated through their wheels and products.
1. Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Company History." Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Company History. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
http://www.elibridge.com/history.htm talks about how W.E. Sullivan life had changed into owning Eli Bridge Company, and the progress that came along to shape his company into what it is today.
2. "Eli Bridge Company." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
http://www.bibme.org/bibliographies/161703010?new=true explains more history on Eli Bridge Company and dates and numbers of the company's existence.
3."Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Ferris Wheels." Eli Bridge Company :: Jacksonville, IL :: Ferris Wheels. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016
http://www.elibridge.com/ talks more indepth on the Big Eli Ferris Wheel its self, and a little of there future goals as a company.
4. "Big Eli Ferris Wheel - Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau." Jacksonville Area Convention Visitors Bureau. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
http://jacksonvilleil.org/big-eli-ferris-wheel/ had just a little more information that is repeated about the Big Eli Ferris Wheel and the company’s owner W.E. Sullivan.
5."Big Eli Wheel No. 17 - Jacksonville, IL - Ferris Wheels on Waymarking.com." Big Eli Wheel No. 17 - Jacksonville, IL - Ferris Wheels on Waymarking.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM51QT_Big_Eli_Wheel_No_17_Jacksonville_IL give the exact longitude and latitude of the ferris whell and a little information on being that it is no longer operational commercially.
6.Deem, Roger A. A Century of Big Eli Wheels: A History of America's Number One Amusement Ride, 1900-2000. Jacksonville, IL: Eli Bridge, 2000. Print.
This book talks about everything you would want to know about the company Big Eli Wheels of the ferris wheel itself.
7.By Roger A. Deem. Here Is a Book about the History of the Eli. "BOOKS about FERRIS WHEELS." CEC Rides Books: Ferris Wheels. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.
http://cec.chebucto.org/Books/FW-Books.html helped me find the book “The Century of Big Eli Wheels”.