Have you ever found yourself driving down I-94 in Detroit between Southfield Freeway and Outer Drive, only to spot a giant tire on the side of the road?

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Okay, no, it's not the missing extra wheel of a semi-truck that has already passed... it's the Uniroyal Giant Tire, and it's got a pretty unique and fun history.

Why is there a giant tire in Detroit?

The Uniroyal Giant Tire was never intended to be just a giant tire hanging out on the side of the interstate. It was originally a Ferris wheel that was on display during the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York.

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Wikipedia
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According to wikipedia, the unique Ferris wheel was commissioned and built by US Royal Tires, and had the words U S Royal Tires scrawled across the top, for the world to see. It originally cost around $750,000 to build, and each ride cost 25 cents.

How did the giant tire end up going from New York to Detroit?

After the World's Fair ended in 1965, US Rubber offered to donate the tire to any park who wanted the amusement, for a $300,000 moving fee. The parks in New York were opposed to having the ride, saying that "This type of amusement, commonly known as 'Kiddie Cities,' does not enhance a park".

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Wikipedia
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That's when Detroit stepped up and said, we're interested! and the tire was moved to US Rubber's Midwest office, then later moved to where the Flushing Meadow Zoo area is 1968.

The tire was then later updated to have neon lights and reflective lettering in 2003, as a part of a roads renovation project that cost nearly $1,000,000.

No, that giant tire isn't just some trash that rolled up on the side of the road. It's a part of history and deserves some respect on it's giant lettered name.

Deserted Eastland Center Mall, Detroit

Memories of the Fox Theatre, Detroit

 

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