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AMF Monorail

U.S. Royal Ferris Wheel...Another Survivor?

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Hi,

We all know that the outside casing for the the U. S. Rubber Ferris wheel went to Detroit where it sits today in a modified fashion alongside Interstate 94 in Allen Park, MI.

According to the 'Official' story from Uniroyal,

http://www.uniroyal.com/knowus_giant.htm

the entire ferris wheel was packed up in 188 crates and moved to Detroit for re-display.

However one of the newspaper articles on the NYWF64.com website feature, "Farewell To The Fair" indicates the ride itself was sent to Great Escape Amusement Park in Lake George, NY, in care of Mr. Charles Wood, proprietor.

With that information I searched for and found a website for the Great Adventure Amusement Park, now part of the Six Flags family. I wandered around their website and finally found and downloaded a map of their park:

http://www.sixflags.com/parks/greatescape/...lies/index.html

From the looks of it, their "Giant Wheel" is a close match for the U.S. Rubber Ferris Wheel, minus the "Tire" cowling.

Has anyone ever seen this ride in person? Ridden it? Gotten a picture of it?

If this is true, the whole attraction survived in two different locations. Another one to check off on the list! eek.gif

Randy.

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Great Randy!

Here's some links to official and non official exploration of the Big Tire in Detroit. Check all pages of these links.

<a href="http://www.slappy.net/detroit/tire/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.slappy.net/detroit/tire/index.html</a>

<a href="http://www.detnews.com/history/stove/stove.htm" target="_blank">http://www.detnews.com/history/stove/stove.htm</a>

Rich

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Hi Rich,

Yeah, there are a whole pile of links to articles about the Detroit part of the tire, but I have seen nothing on the 'guts' portion of the ride in NY.

Was just wondering if it was still in service.

I was in Allen Park in 1999 and at that time the access hatch was open, but I had no ladder to climb up into the tire.

The boys who have the photos of the inside beat me to it!

Since that time, the fencing around the tire was re-secured and the hatch firmly bolted shut. Another lost opportunity.

Randy.

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No offense, Randy, but from the map it pretty much looks like any other Ferris Wheel to me. What makes you think it looks like the NYWF version?

I have ridden it in the past. If it's the NYWF wheel I am bummed I didn't know it at the time!

Bill

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Randy, billcotter and all,

bigwheel.JPG

"this is the inside...it was an old ferris wheel"

This is the last pic on page one of this link; http://www.slappy.net/detroit/tire/index.html

(the pic belongs to them-do not copy)

When I revisit thier photos and commentary of a great night out, especially this photo and thier naive deduction, some "old ferris wheel"...I feel they had no idea of this transplanted legacy...they penetrated it 'coz it was there with a hatch door for decades...And found so much of the ferris wheel structure that it was clear to them, by flashlight.

So did Uniroyal or the town of Allen Park, MI. move it all back home to be a ferris wheel and fail? Are the round gondolas what Great Escape, NY bought in the end and nothing else? Hmmmmmmmmmm.

da'bench

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For what it is worth, I have heard for years that Great Escape had purchased the US Rubber Ferris Wheel and I have made several posts in the past few months about this rumor, but when I saw the tire along the Edsel Ford Freeway near Metro Airport in Detroit, I was confused. In the mid-1960's, the Lake George Park was very small and strictly a regional attraction. Whether or not their ferris wheel is what remains of the actual NYWF ride, I do not know. I have seen it and I have doubts. However, as I said, I have heard since the time the Fair closed, that Great Escape had purchased the ride. I lived in that area at the time and it was a big deal. I looked for it, as I suspect many others did (and it would be tough to hide that thing), and never thought they they might have purchased the ride without the tire. Perhaps a direct contact with the park is the best solution to the mystery.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 08-08-2001).]

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For clarification on the Michigan legacy, the Allen Park, MI tire has a simple steel frame inside which only holds the fiberglass tire panels in place.

There is ABSOLUTELY no ferris wheel mechanism inside it. I really would have seen it if it was in there.

I called The Great Escape in Lake George, NY and spoke to a representative from their maintenance department.

The nice lady said that their "Giant Wheel" was purchased new in 1989. She asked some other people who were in her area about the purchase of the WF wheel by Charles Wood, and they thought that he had sold it to a place called Fantasy Island located in Grand Island, NY, near Tonawanda/Buffalo.

I searched the net and found a reference to a "Giant Gondola Wheel" at Martin's Fantasy Island. My hopes soared briefly.

I called Fantasy Island and talked to their representative and she remarked that when Mr. Martin bought the park in the early 1990's there was no wheel ride. The "Giant Gondola Wheel" was purchased new in 1994 and has been there ever since.

Their web site was not working this morning so I couldn't get any pictures of the "Giant Gondola Wheel" for reference.

frown.gif So no luck on the NYWF US Rubber wheel at present. The hunt goes on.......

Randy.

[This message has been edited by AMFMonorail (edited 08-09-2001).]

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I received this from Phil Ras, who asked me to post this to PTU. Phil has been doing some digging into the files of the NY World's Fair Corporation at the NY Public Library in his spare time:

In a memo dated May 7, 1965, the U. S. Rubber Corporation offered the Ferris Wheel to the World’s Fair Corporation. U. S. Rubber claimed, the Fair Corporation and eventually New York City could net $95,000 dollars a year if they operated the wheel for a 26-week season and charged $.30 for adults and $.15 for children.

They would need to hire 4 attendants, 1 watchman 1 cashier, 1 operator and 2 laborers for cleaning. The Fair Corporation said NO in a memo dated 9/23/1965 and it was taken down.

U. S. Rubber, in a memo dated 9/30/1965 said they would remove the outer caseing and ship it to Detroit where it would be mounted on a frame and used as an advertisement. The ride itself was sold to an unidentified individual.

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The official web page of the giant tire has been updated. To any who are interested, the link follows:

<a href="http://www.uniroyal.com/about/gianttire.html" target="_blank">http://www.uniroyal.com/about/gianttire.html</a>

I found the fact sheet on renovation (bottom of page, click on highlighted area) and the Uniroyal Giant Tire pdf especially interesting.

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For a short time, I lived in the Detroit area (about 25 years ago). I remember driving to Metro Airport along the Edsel Ford Freeway and there was this giant tire. I thought that it sure looked a great deal like that funky Ferris Wheel I rode on at the NYWF. I believe that I figured that it might be the same tire but sort of forgot about it until I discovered this website when it first appeared several years ago. References to the giant tire took me back to my sighting of it years ago in Detroit. I am so glad that the website dedicated to the tire actually mentions the Fair. It is interesting to note that Mrs. Kennedy and her children rode on that Ferris Wheel long ago. Not only is the big tire a Fair legacy, it is a well preserved icon--sort of the Eiffel Tower of Detroit!

PS: I remember that Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, who was thought to be a rising political star in the late Sixties and early Seventies (he died quite young as I recall, however) wanted Detroit to host a world's fair in the late 1960's. This was before I lived there but even in the 1970's people made reference to his proposal. The preferred site was to have been the Michigan State Fairgrounds which is in northwest Detroit, I believe. I also believe that Detroit's racial strife and economic meltdown of the late 1960's and early 1970's killed that idea more than any other single reason. That is unfortunate because it really is a decent city but it has a strange anonimity to it. And Detroit continues to struggle with its identity to this day.

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Detroit is a sad place, if you're interested in historic preservation. They've demolished more historic buildings than any other city on earth, it seems. Just look at the "Lost Detroit" websites....

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Mike, I agree with you. I recently saw a photograph of Sinai Hospital in Detroit which was once a huge and major medical center in the heart of the city. Today, it is completely empty and abandonded. I remember reading that during the 1967 riots, over one hundred blocks of the city were destroyed. Much of this damaged landscape remains vacant and neglected today. Detroit has been, in the 20th Century, almost exclusively associated with automobiles. When that part of the economy gets a cold, Detroit gets pneumonia. As the power and influence of the remaining big three automobile makers continues to decline, so do the fortunes of the Motor City.

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Mike, I agree with you. I recently saw a photograph of Sinai Hospital in Detroit which was once a huge and major medical center in the heart of the city. Today, it is completely empty and abandoned. I remember reading that during the 1967 riots, over one hundred blocks of the city were destroyed. Much of this damaged landscape remains vacant and neglected today. Detroit has been, in the 20th Century, almost exclusively associated with automobiles. When that part of the economy gets a cold, Detroit gets pneumonia. As the power and influence of the remaining big three automobile makers continues to decline, so do the fortunes of the Motor City.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 01-30-2004).]

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Guest

last weekend i had to go to detroit for work, and of course saw the uniroyal tire on the highway. actually, i was thumbing through northwest airline's in-flight magazine, and they had an article on the history of the tire and its recent renovation (2000 or 2001 i believe?). i snapped a couple of photos of the tire, but the pictures are nothing new to you all. unfortunately i forgot to tear out the article in the magazine, but again, i think the information in there was nothing new. however, besides my walks around flushing meadow park and trips to disneyworld, this was the first fair relic i've seen out in the other parts of the country. the happiness it gave me almost made up for the fact that i was still in detroit.

happy fair anniversary.

sharyn

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Yep, sent an email. Haven't heard back yet, so I figured I try the shotgun method!

But in the mean time, does anyone have a copy of the memos Phil was talking about?  I'm trying to do my fact checking.

 

 

On 8/19/2001 at 3:41 PM, Bill Young said:

I received this from Phil Ras, who asked me to post this to PTU. Phil has been doing some digging into the files of the NY World's Fair Corporation at the NY Public Library in his spare time:

 

In a memo dated May 7, 1965, the U. S. Rubber Corporation offered the Ferris Wheel to the World’s Fair Corporation. U. S. Rubber claimed, the Fair Corporation and eventually New York City could net $95,000 dollars a year if they operated the wheel for a 26-week season and charged $.30 for adults and $.15 for children.

 

They would need to hire 4 attendants, 1 watchman 1 cashier, 1 operator and 2 laborers for cleaning. The Fair Corporation said NO in a memo dated 9/23/1965 and it was taken down.

 

U. S. Rubber, in a memo dated 9/30/1965 said they would remove the outer caseing and ship it to Detroit where it would be mounted on a frame and used as an advertisement. The ride itself was sold to an unidentified individual.

 

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