5% of $770,000 goal
Imagine the year 1895 - Phoenix Bridge Company, a subsidiary of Phoenix Iron & Steel Company, manufactures four extraordinary Phoenix Wheels. These large, round marvels became an emblem of the industrial era, a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of a time gone by. Today, only one of those grand structures remains, an enduring symbol of our heritage that's been waiting patiently for its chance to shine again.
This Phoenix Wheel has had quite the journey. From its initial home in Asbury Park, New Jersey, it served as a beacon of entertainment until 1988. It then traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, captivating audiences at an amusement park until 1998. Soon after, it was brought back to Asbury Park by New Jersey developer Bill Sitar, with the dream of reviving the waterfront. Unfortunately, his dream never came to fruition.
In 2008, a ray of hope emerged. With widespread community support, the Schuylkill River Heritage Center (SRHC) acquired the Phoenix Wheel. The community rallied around the cause, allowing us to restore all sixteen of the wheel's seating baskets. The restoration process also unearthed an exciting revelation - our Phoenix Wheel is the oldest in the world!
For years, several locations in Phoenixville were considered for the wheel's installation, but nothing materialized until now. Thanks to a partnership agreement with Phoenixville Borough, the Phoenix Wheel finally has a home on a former industrial property next to the current parking lot.
Soon, this relic of our industrial heritage will stand tall as an outdoor sculpture beside the French Creek Trail. The Borough will oversee the site improvements, while the SRHC, led by our engineer Tom Zeigler and team member Gern Jaeger, will manage the wheel's restoration, reassembly, and installation. Jaeger, owner of Specialty Metals, who created the bridge sculpture for the SRHC in Renaissance Park, will bring his expert team to work their magic on the Phoenix Wheel.
In addition to restoring and installing the wheel, the SRHC will also illuminate this towering icon, ensuring it can be admired day and night. We will install a tall glass fence for its protection, yet preserving the view for all to enjoy. Additionally, interpretive signage will provide insights into the wheel's storied history, recognize the invaluable contributions of our donors, and interpret the wheel's role in helping create the state of Israel.
The total project cost for this ambitious endeavor is $770,000. Every donation brings us a step closer to breathing life back into this majestic monument. By contributing, you're not just preserving a part of history, you're also playing an integral part in revitalizing Phoenixville, transforming a former industrial space into a vibrant cultural hub that pays homage to our shared past.
The Phoenix Wheel's revival is more than just restoring an artifact - it is about community, heritage, and the power of preserving our shared history for future generations. We invite you to be a part of this exciting journey. With your help, the Phoenix Wheel will turn again, a symbol of our resilience, our shared history, and a beacon for the future. Join us as we bring the past into the present for a brighter future. Donate today and become a part of this incredible journey.