The Jacksonville Rotary Club is proud to run the Big Eli Ferris Wheel in Community Park every summer.
Starting in 2016, riding the wheel during the regular Sunday schedule is FREE through the generous sponsorship of local businesses and groups. You can help make great summer memories with this iconic local treasure. Are you interested in helping sponsor the wheel? Contact the club for more information.
Sunday: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Memorial Day through Autumn (weather permitting) and on Holidays
The wheel is available for private functions or rental. Contact us for further information.
In 1893, W.E. Sullivan visited the Colombian Exposition, where he marveled at the original Ferris Wheel. Mr. Sullivan owned a bridge building business, the Eli Bridge Company, but remained fascinated by the Wheel and was determined to build one of his own. Sullivan’s first “Big Eli” Wheel debuted in Jacksonville, Illinois’ own Central Park on May 23, 1900. In 1919, a new factory building was erected in Jacksonville, and has been doing business ever since from that location. The first wheel, Big Eli Wheel #1, now proudly stands in front of the factory. Although the factory is not open for tours, visitors can take a spin on the Jacksonville Rotary Club-operated wheel in Community Park during the summer and autumn months.