San Francisco History

End of Firth Wheel


Relicof Midwinter Fair Will Be Torn Down Today

The Firth wheel, the circular and rusty monument of the Midwinter fair, which has stood on the bluff near Sutro's baths, is to be overturned today and reduced to junk. The old wheel was damaged by storm a fortnight ago. The clutches were broken so that the wheel revolved in the windstorm. It can be of no possible use as a wheel and may serve some purpose as junk, so will be torn down.

The Firth wheel, built in imitation of the monster Ferris wheel, the sensation of the world's fair at Chicago, was one of the popular attractions at the Midwinter fair in 1894. At the conclusion of that exposition the wheel, with a number of other concession structures was removed to the vicinity of the Cliff house, where a perpetual midway was to have been established. The investment was not profitable, and the wheel has stood out on the cliff, of no more use than a fishhook in a desert.

Its day is done. Tonight it will be a pile of junk and will be carried off for old iron.

There is some character to the stability of the old wheel, however. It lived from the days of the Midwinter fair of 1894 for 17 years, until the great Panama-Pacific exposition had been launched.

Source: San Francisco Call, 14 March 1911, page 21.


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