Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier donated a piece of its original, world-famous Ferris wheel Ñ one of the two center hub signs Ñ to the Santa Monica History Museum. (photo by Alexis Hawkins)

SM PIER — Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier donated a piece of its original, world-famous Ferris wheel — one of the two center hub signs — to the Santa Monica History Museum, officials with the amusement park announced Thursday.

“We wanted to present the Santa Monica History Museum with something extraordinary and nostalgic, which led us to the Ferris wheel’s center hub sign for preservation,” said Jeff Klocke, director of marketing and sales at Pacific Park. “The Pacific Wheel has been an incredible source of pride for the city. Pacific Park’s donation of the center hub sign represents our desire to preserve a distinct part of Santa Monica history.”

With the yellow background and red “Pacific Wheel” inscription, the hub sign measures 6 feet in diameter and is encircled by 98 incandescent bulbs. The hub sign adorned the Ferris wheel from the opening of Pacific Park in May 1996 through its replacement in May 2008.

The Pacific Wheel was the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel introduced in 1998 and was later selected “Best Solar System” in the Reader’s Digest Best in America 2006.

The Pacific Wheel has been a highly visible icon for the entertainment industry as well having been featured in more than 350 movie, television, commercial, music videos and print advertisements.

Overall the Pacific Wheel has provided more than 3 million rides in its 15 years of operation.

“We are pleased to accept this unique donation by Pacific Park,” said Louise Gabriel, president and CEO of the museum. “This is the type of artifact that makes the history museum relevant to the city. The center hub sign will provide a means for the community to relive its past with wonder and whimsy.”

In May of 2008, Pacific Park introduced an all-new $1.8 million Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel featuring more than 160,000 energy-efficient LED lights that provides higher energy savings while complementing the solar-power application. The eco-friendly, enhanced LED lighting provides 75 percent greater energy savings than most Ferris wheel’s traditional incandescent bulbs. The Pacific Wheel now presents dynamic, custom, computer-generated lighting entertainment each evening.

The hub sign is now on display at the Santa Monica History Museum during regular hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Santa Monica History Museum admission is $5 per adult, $3 per student with proper identification, and Free to members and children under 12.

 Santa Monica History Museum is located at 1350 Seventh St. For additional information, call (310) 395-2290 or visit www.santamonicahistory.org.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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