Wendella Sightseeing Company was founded in Chicago in 1935 by Albert Borgström, a Swedish immigrant. Wendella continues to be a Chicago, family-owned and operated business. The company is now in its fourth generation with Michael Borgström as president.
Chicago’s Original Architecture Tour originated at the northeast corner of Navy Pier until moving to its present location on Michigan Avenue at the Wrigley Building in 1938. Albert knew people wanted more than just the small speedboat rides that were popular at the time. A carpenter by trade, Albert built a 65-foot wooden yacht named Wendela, which was later changed to Wendella for pronunciation. He added seating for 100 passengers and included a narration of Chicago’s architecture and history. What began as a 30-minute tour quickly evolved into the 90-minute Wendella’s Signature Lake & River Tour.