Riverview Park (Chicago)
- This is an article about the amusement park called Riverview Park. For the neighborhood of that name in Ottawa, Canada, see Riverview (Ottawa). For the amusement park of that name in Baltimore, see Riverview Park (Baltimore). For the large city park in Pittsburgh, see Riverview Park (Pittsburgh).
Riverview Park was an amusement park in Chicago, Illinois which operated from 1904 to 1967. It was located on 74 acres (0.3 km²) in an area bound on the south by Belmont Avenue, on the east by Western Avenue, on the north by Lane Tech High School, and on the west by the North Branch of the Chicago River. It was in the North Center community area and neighborhood on Chicago's north side.
Riverview was most known for The Bobs roller coaster. Other popular coasters were The Comet, The Silver Flash, The Fireball and the Jetstream. Aladdin's Castle was a classic fun house with a collapsing stairway, mazes and turning barrel. Shoot the Chutes, Hades, the Rotor, Tilt-a-Whirl, Wild Mouse, the Tunnel of Love, and The Flying Cars were just a few of the many classic rides. "The Pair-O-Chutes at Riverview Park'll shake us up all day" is a line from the Beach Boys' song "Amusement Parks U.S.A." from their 1965 album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).
The Riverview Park grounds were owned by George Schmidt. Immediately across the street, on the east side of Western Avenue, was George Schmidt Motors. There, George Schmidt senior sold new Sunbeams and Hillmans and other British cars from the Rootes Group (Humbers, Commers, etc.) and George Schmidt junior raced his sportcar named the Li'l Stinker, a white Sunbeam Alpine convertible with a cute skunk in a yellow circle painted on the doors and bonnet.
The former grounds are now home to Riverview Plaza shopping center, the Belmont District Police Station, DeVry University, a manufacturing company and Richard Clark Park, part of the Chicago Park District. The south end of Clark Park has a wooded area where many of the Riverview Park foundations are still visible and is currently used as a bicycle dirt jump and pump track park maintained by the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers. A sculpture entitled Riverview by local artist Jerry Peart stands in front of the police station.
As with any memorabilia, items from the park are now quite valuable. Many items from the old park, as well as many paintings portraying Riverview in its glory days, are on display at its namesake, Riverview Tavern, on the corner of West Roscoe Street and Damen Avenue. The Riverview Carousel continues to operate at Six Flags Over Georgia. It and the Rotor were the only rides to be saved. The Rotor was moved to Six Flags Great America where it operated as Cajun Cliffhanger. It was removed after the 2000 season due to an injury on the ride.
Bally and Williams
The 1972 Bally Manufacturing Corporation pinball machine Fireball was named after the park's Fireball roller coaster. Also, Bally's Aladdin's Castle amusement arcade division was renamed from Carousel Time to honor the closed Riverview Park and the Aladdin's Castle funhouse. Bally's Aladdin's Castle pinball machine was also inspired by the same funhouse at Riverview. The 1979 Williams Electronics' pinball game Flash as well as their 1985 Comet was named after the park's roller coasters with these names. Bally Manufacturing Corporation and Williams Electronics, Inc. had their headquarters and primary manufacturing facilities just West of Riverview Park during the later years of the parks operating life.
Gee, Derek and Lopez, Ralph (c. 2000). Laugh your troubles away : The complete history of Riverview Park, Chicago, Illinois. Livonia, MI: Sharpshooters Productions, Inc.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Riverview Park (Chicago).|
- Defunct Parks site
- Sharpshooters Productions Inc.'s Riverview Park site
- Riverview Park at the Roller Coaster DataBase