This mural highlights the inspiration and dedication of local entrepreneurs here in Jacksonville. The Eli Bridge Company, established as a co-partnership between W. E. Sullivan and the Kellogg Bros. as primarily a steel bridge building company. In 1900, after Sullivan’s visit to the Columbian Exposition, they decided to make the first Eli Ferris Wheel. The Wheel was, according to Norman D. Anderson’s History, “built in record-breaking time.” Our town of Jacksonville, Illinois is where the very first “Big Eli” Ferris wheel was presented and the Wheel proved to be a great success and, in 1906, Sullivan incorporated the Eli Bridge Company and made it the company it is today (Eli Bridge Co.).
Although it may be an incorporated company with many investors, it is still the family-owned company that it once was. Jacksonville prides itself in being the town that produces the only ferris wheels in the country to this date. And to feature this, we also have a functioning Ferris Wheel, on Main Street that operates every Sunday from 4 pm to 6 pm starting on Memorial Day through Autumn, if the weather permits. In addition to that ferris wheel, the very first wheel, Big Eli #1, stands gloriously in front of the current standing factory.
This walldog mural was created by Dale Manor, a resident of Menomonie, Wisconsin. He took this project in his hands because as walldog muralist he found the history behind the Eli Bridge Company very interesting. Manor is a muralist of various types kinds and his work is presented throughout the country. To learn more about his other works, follow this link.