Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
George Washington Gale Ferris
Birth: Feb. 14, 1859
Death: Nov. 22, 1896

Civil Engineer. He was the inventor of the Ferris wheel, which has become an American amusement park mainstay. Born in Galesburg, Illinois, where as a child he always displayed an aptitude toward mechanics. The family moved to Carson City, Nevada where his father, George Sr. started a landscaping business (much of the landscaping still remains in that city with the most notable being on the state capitol grounds). George Jr. left home in 1875 to attend a military academy in Oakland, California and then on the New York where he received a degree in civil engineering. He relocated to Pittsburgh and founded G.W.G. Ferris and Company. Here the Monster Wheel was developed and it was constructed on the grounds of the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair. There whe wheel, measuring 250 feet in diameter, 30 feet broad, and weighing an enormous 7,400 tons, won him the declaration of "genius". After the closing of the fair, he was obsessed with the wheel, investing his dwindling cash reserves in schemes to build and sell bigger and better wheels across the country. Completely bankrupt, he moved into a hotel in Pittsburgh spending his remaining days friendless and alone. He refused to seek medical attention and was finally checked into Mercy Hospital where he died at the young age of 37. He was cremated by a Pittsburgh crematorium which held his unclaimed ashes for over fifteen years pending payment of the bill. They were finally given to his brother and the disposition is unknown. 
Family links: 
  George Washington Gale Ferris (1818 - 1895)
  Martha Edgerton Hyde Ferris (1820 - 1897)
  Albert Roland Ferris (1841 - 1887)*
  Frederick Hyde Ferris (1843 - 1925)*
  Benjamin Hyde Ferris (1845 - 1929)*
  Harriet Clementina Ferris (1847 - 1849)*
  Margaret Gale Ferris Dangberg (1848 - 1946)*
  Martha Elizabeth Ferris Schulz (1857 - 1939)*
  George Washington Gale Ferris (1859 - 1896)
  Mary Amanda Ferris Ardery (1861 - 1951)*
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Typhoid
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Ron Moody
Record added: Feb 21, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6201720
George Washington Gale Ferris
Added by: Ron Moody
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- R I P
 Added: Feb. 14, 2015

- Sanshl
 Added: Feb. 14, 2015
Rest in Heavenly peace.
- William Neill
 Added: Feb. 13, 2015
There are 104 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.3 after 56 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service