Yesterday we went to the John Hancock Center and went up to the observatory on the 94th floor. You could see Chicago and beyond in all directions as well as how Lake Michigan curves and the coastline of the lake. The lake is a wonderful resource for Chicago and they seem to have known that from very early on. They did not build factories on the coast and now there are beaches along it. Although there are highways that run along the lakefront, there are various access points for non-vehicular traffic.
The observation experience at the Hancock was well done. You got a hand held device with earphones and narration for what you were seeing. Many of the views were of Navy Pier with the big Ferris wheel in the middle. It looked very inviting so we went there next.
Navy Pier is a mall, a museum, a marina and an amusement park all in one. The amusement park includes three rides; one of which is a recreation of the original Ferris wheel, built for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. I did not know until yesterday that there was an actual creator of the Ferris wheel named, – surprise, surprise – George Washington Gale Ferris. Ferris, Daniel Burnham and others wanted to build something for the Chicago World’s Fair that would rival the Eiffel Tower that had been built for the 1889 Paris Exposition. Since the original wheel created in 1893 was demolished in 1906, the creators did not succeed. However, subsequent Ferris wheels continue to provide entertainment for countless people.
The other thing I learned at the Hancock building is that it is part of the World Federation of Great Towers. I have been in four of them, Hancock, CN Tower, Toronto, Space Needle, Seattle and the Empire State Building, New York.