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Steel Shots: Capital Wheel to Open Friday
Posted by Tasha Weiss on May 22, 2014 at 1:28 PM.


Soaring 180 ft above the Potomac River waterfront at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Md., the Capital Wheel, set to open in time for Memorial Day weekend, will join a growing number of large-scale observation wheels around the globe as an iconic, world-class attraction. The wheel’s 150-ton steel grid base structure was fabricated by Cianbro (an AISC member and AISC certified fabricator) at its Baltimore yard. The individual components were then delivered by barge and erected on site. Photo: Courtesy of Terex Corporation


The idea of an observation wheel as a tourist draw dates back to 1893 when the world’s first Ferris wheel (also supported by steel), designed and built by George Ferris, Jr., wowed attendees at the Chicago World’s Fair. Since that time, the scale and sophistication of observation wheels has steadily grown.


At 180 ft, the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, a 300-acre multi-use waterfront development just south of Washington, D.C., will boast some of the most iconic vantage points imaginable, offering views of the White House, Capitol building, National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery. It features 42 enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, each seating eight, and will operate year-round.


To learn more about the Capital Wheel, visit The site features a two-minute video that shows how it was built, as well as time-lapse footage of its construction progress. You can also find photos and updates on the Capital Wheel’s Facebook page:

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