Big Eli Ferris Wheel

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 locally-operated wheel in Community Park during the summer and autumn months.

Visitor Information


Community Park
Morton Avenue & Main Street




Sunday: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Memorial Day through Autumn (weather permitting) and on Holidays

Available for private parties, contact Gina Hayes 618.946.3773