Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier has donated a piece of its original world-famous Ferris wheel — one of the two center hub signs — to the Santa Monica Historical Society.
With their Pacific Wheel inscription, the hub signs measure six feet in diameter and have adorned the Ferris wheel since Pacific Park opened in May 1996.
During an informal ceremony led by Jeff Klocke, director of marketing at Pacific Park, the sign was presented to representatives of the Santa Monica Historical Society, including president Jean McNeil Wyner, board member Misti Kerns and director Ho Nguyen.
“We wanted to present the Santa Monica Historical Society with something extraordinary and nostalgic, which led us to the Ferris wheel’s center hub sign for preservation,” said Klocke. “The Pacific Wheel has been an incredible source of pride for the city.
“Pacific Park’s donation of the center hub sign represents our desire to preserve a distinct part of Santa Monica history.”
The original Pacific Wheel was a highly visible icon for the entertainment industry, having been featured in more than 300 movie, television, commercial, music videos and print advertisements. The Pacific Wheel was the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel when it was introduced in 1998 and was later selected “Best Solar System” in the Reader’s Digest Best in America 2006.
The original Pacific Wheel provided more than three million rides in its 12 years of operation.
“We are pleased to accept this unique donation by Pacific Park,” said Wyner. “This is the type of artifact that makes the Historical Society relevant to the city. The center hub sign will provide a means for the community to relive its past with wonder and whimsy.”
While the Santa Monica Historical Society is in the process of moving to a new location at the Santa Monica Public Library main branch at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Pacific Park will keep the Ferris wheel center hub until the park moves the historical piece to its new permanent home.
Pacific Park unveiled the all-new Pacific Wheel during a grand opening community celebration May 28th, complete with a computer-generated light show. The all-new Pacific Wheel stands 130 feet above the Pacific Ocean, features 20 gondolas with a maximum six riders per car and can accommodate up to 600 riders per hour.
The original Ferris wheel was auctioned on eBay to an Oklahoma City real estate developer who plans to rename the attraction once it is incorporated in a local project.
Information, (310) 260-8744, or www.pacpark.com/.