Trapped on the Wheel: Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893
by John Glavin
Dickinson Publishing House, LLC
Alessandra is willing to risk everything to ride the largest bicycle wheel in the world—the original Ferris Wheel.
Lured by the temptations of the World’s Fair, she rebels against her Victorian father, whose life-long vision is for her to become his Lady of the Manor. However, Alessandra vows to resist.
After her 18th birthday ball, she begins her painful odyssey to escape the trap awaiting most women—a dominating father, an arranged marriage, and society’s false promises. Although set over a century ago, Trapped on the Wheel depicts similar battles Chicago faces today: scandal, financial depression, and racism challenged by the people’s belief in change and hope for a better life.
I pointed to the growing shadow. “Rain’s coming.”
Hermes laughed at me. “Dummy,” he shouted in my ear, “That’s just the shadow of the Ferris Wheel.”
After a second blast from the whistle, the door of the carriage for dignitaries opened. “Can they all fit into that one car?” I asked Hermes. “When is our turn?” My fear of heights grew within me.
“Not to worry, as Dad tells me, simple math,” Hermes said, “Thirty-six carriages, each holds forty people. Six carriages load at one time on three different levels, each a house story apart.” People nearby stared knives and forks at us. “The wheel stops a total of six times to load to capacity, and with standees, totals two thousand passengers for each trip!”
“Marvelous, Hermes, how do you know all that?” I asked him as if I didn’t know. He held a Rand McNally guidebook, and grinned.
“One thing more,” I said, “As you know, I hate heights. Hope it doesn’t drop too fast.”