Sears-Ferris House

  • Also Known As: Ferris, G.W.G., House

  • Address: 311 W 3rd St
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Building

In 1868, George Washington Gale Ferris, Sr purchased the residence of Mary A and Gregory A Sears, who subdivided a portion of early Carson City, and built this house in 1863. The Sears--Ferris House is a square, frame building measuring approximately 60 feet by 60 feet, and combines Greek, Gothic Revival and Classical Revival influences. Ferris came to Nevada with his family in 1864 as a gentleman farmer. In addition to producing typical crops, Ferris planted numerous varieties of trees and was responsible for importing large numbers of Eastern ornamental trees to Carson City including hickory, black walnut and chestnut. Many of Ferris's imported trees still adorn the Capitol grounds.

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr, who became the most prominent figure associated with the house, was a young boy when the family moved from their homestead in Carson Valley to this house in Carson City. Ferris was born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1859. He graduated from military school in Oakland, California, and in 1881 graduated in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. By 1892 young Ferris Jr. was associated with railroad and coal interests in the east, and became a bridge builder and organizer of G W G Ferris and Company in Pittsburgh. He and other American engineers had been challenged to build something "which would rival the Eiffel Tower" for the World's Colombian Exposition of 1893.

One Saturday while he sat in a "chop house," an idea came to him. Allegedly he wrote it down immediately on the tablecloth. His invention, the Ferris Wheel, towered 250 feet with 36 cars, each holding 40 people. Immediately popular with fair goers, it took 20 minutes to make a complete revolution. Family descendants believed the idea came from his early days in Nevada, when Ferris Jr. watched the bigwheel turning near the Mexican Mill on the Carson River.

In 1881, Ferris Sr. moved to Riverside, California. He sold the house and a portion of the block to his daughter Mary Ferris Ardery for $3000 in 1890. She added the Classical-style front porch. Ferris Jr died in 1896 in Pittsburgh at the age of 37. - NPS



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1863/00/00 Gregory A Sears, who subdivided a portion of early Carson City, builds his own house.
1868/00/00 George W Ferris Work George Washington Gale Ferris Sr buys the Mary A and Gregory A Sears residence. It's George Jr's boyhood home until the 1870s.
1881/00/00 In 1881, George Ferris Sr moves to Riverside, California. He will sell the house and a portion of the block to his daughter, Mary Ferris Ardery, for $3000 in 1890.

Data »

Particulars for Sears-Ferris House:
Area of Significance Agriculture
Architectural Style American Colonial Revival
Criteria Consideration Birth place or grave
Sight Category Building
Area of Significance Community Planning and Development
Area of Significance Conservation
Architectural Style Georgian Revival
Criteria Historic Event
Area of Significance Invention
Level of Significance National
Criteria Person
Owner Private
Historic Use Single dwelling

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 9th February 1979

Registry Name: Sears--Ferris House
Registry Address: 311 W. Third St.
Registry Number: 79003438
Resource Type: Building
Owner: Private
Architect: unknown; Sears, Gregory Alvin
Architectural Style: Colonial revival, Other
Attribute: Georgian Revival
Contributing Buildings: 1
Other Certification: Additional documentation
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Agriculture, Community Planning and Development, Conservation, Invention
Applicable Criteria: Person, Event
Criteria Consideration: Birth place or grave
Period of Significance: 1850-1874
Significant Year: 1863, 1868
Associated People: Ferris,George W. G.,Jr.,et al.; Sears, Gregory Alvin, et al.
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-Function: Single dwelling
Current Function: Domestic, Commerce, Trade
Current Sub-Function: Professional Single dwelling

Shopping on Amazon

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Google Ad

Google Ad