Riverview Park (Chicago)

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Riverview Park
Entrance to Riverview Park (JJH).jpg
Main entrance to Riverview Park
Location3300 North Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Coordinates41°56′33″N 87°41′28″W / 41.9425320°N 87.6911674°W / 41.9425320; -87.6911674Coordinates: 41°56′33″N 87°41′28″W / 41.9425320°N 87.6911674°W / 41.9425320; -87.6911674
Slogan
  • "Laugh Your Troubles Away!"
  • "Chicago's famous Amusement Park"
OpenedJuly 2, 1904 (1904-07-02)
ClosedOctober 3, 1967 (1967-10-03)
StatusClosed
[1]

Riverview Park was an amusement park in Chicago, Illinois, which operated from 1904 to 1967. It was located on 74 acres (30 ha) in an area bound on the south by Belmont Avenue, on the east by Western Avenue, on the north by Lane Tech College Prep High School, and on the west by the North Branch of the Chicago River. It was located in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago's North Center community area.[2]

Rides and attractions[edit]

Riverview was most known for The Bobs wooden 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 Mill on the Floss (Tunnel of Love), and Flying Turns 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!!). There were supposedly over 120 rides in the park.

List[edit]

Ride Year built Year closed Manufacturer and ride type Image Description
The Bobs 1924 1967 Wooden Roller Coaster The Bobs at Riverview (JJH).jpg
Comet Roller Coaster The Comet roller coaster at Riverview Park Chicago.JPG
Silver Flash Roller Coaster Silver Flash roller coaster Riverview Park Chicago.JPG
Fireball 1923 1967 Roller Coaster The ride featured a steep drop that embarked into a tunnel.
Jetstream 1964 1967 Wooden Roller Coaster

Philadelphia Toboggan Company

Jetstream replaced the ride Greyhound. It was not as popular as some of the more wild rides at the park. Jetstream was demolished before it was paid off.
Aladdin's Castle 1967 Fun house The mirrors are reportedly at a dance club in Palatine.
Shoot the Chutes 1967 Water Ride Chutes Riverview Park Chicago.JPG Old fashioned water ride
Hades Fun house
The Rotor 1952 1967 Orton, Sons & Spooner[3] The Rotor was a spinning ride where the floor dropped out from under riders. They were then held to the wall by centripetal force.
Tilt-a-Whirl Tilt-a-Whirl
Wild mouse Wild mouse coaster
Mill on the Floss 1967 Mill on the Floss ride Riverview Park Chicago 1942.JPG Previously named Thousand Islands but later became Mill on the Floss. In 1950, it was renamed to The Tunnel of Love
Flying Turns 1934 1967 Wooden Bobsled ride Flying Turns roller coaster Riverview Park Chicago.JPG Wooden bobsled run with steep turns. Moved from the Chicago World's fair in 1934 and opened the following season. Flying Bobs was removed with the park in 1967
Pair-O-Chutes 1963 1967 Pair O Chutes at night Riverview Park Chicago.JPG This ride lifted riders to the top of a tower before dropping carts attached to parachutes
Carousel 1908 1964 Carousel Carousel and Circle Swing Riverview Park Chicago.JPG This 70-horse carousel was built in 1908. It is a PTC carousel and is one of only three remaining five-abreast carousels known to exist. In 1967, it was purchased and moved to Six Flags Over Georgia.
Coal-fired miniature steam engine train Miniature train Riverview Park Chicago.JPG
Freak show 1950s Show A show that featured Betty Lou Williams, the world's only 4 legged girl, and magician Marshall Brodien who would go on to play Wizzo the Wizard in the famous "Bozo Show"
Flying scooter Looks almost like a hang glider
Boomerang
Strat-O-Stat
The Calypso
Flying Cars 1954 1966
Hot Rods 1955 Hot Rods track Riverview Park Chicago 1967.JPG
Ferris Wheel Ferris wheel Ferris wheel
Paratrooper 1960
Space Ride 1963 Sky ride a $300,000 sky ride.
Bump 'Em Bumper Cars
Greyhound Roller coaster Was replaced by Jetstream
The Tickler 1910
Expo whirl 1910
Witching Waves 1910
Metrodome 1911
Velvet Coaster 1907 1919
Pikes Peak Scenic Railway 1907
Racetrack 1907

George Schmidt[edit]

The Riverview Park grounds were owned by George Schmidt, which initially served as a private skeet shooting range.[4] 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.

Riverview Park, Hell Gate scene, Chicago, Illinois, circa 1907-1914

"Big Bill" Haywood, the Industrial Workers of the World leader, once spoke here to a crowd of almost 80,000 people.[5]

Current use[edit]

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.

Memorabilia[edit]

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, once on display at its namesake, Riverview Tavern, located on the corner of West Roscoe Street and Damen Avenue from 2005 to 2018.[6] The Riverview Carousel continues to operate at Six Flags Over Georgia.[7] It was the only ride to be saved.

Bally and Williams[edit]

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.[8] 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 park's operating life.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Riverview Park (historical)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 15 January 1980. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  2. ^ Shaffer, Randi (October 4, 2017). "50 Years Later: A Timeline of Chicago's Riverview Park". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Canfield, Victor (2 July 2015). "Rotors". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  4. ^ Kogan, Rick. "Remembering Riverview Park, 50 years later". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  5. ^ Rosemont, Franklin (2002) Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Culture, Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company
  6. ^ "The Reveler To Celebrate Grand Opening In Roscoe Village". North Center-Roscoe Village, IL Patch. 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  7. ^ www.sixflags.com
  8. ^ IPDB.org

Further reading[edit]

  • Gee, Derek; Lopez, Ralph (2000). Laugh Your Troubles Away: The Complete History of Riverview Park, Chicago, Illinois. Livonia, MI: Sharpshooter Productions. ISBN 978-0967604510.

External links[edit]