Riverview Park (Chicago)

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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
Entrance to Riverview Park (JJH).jpg
Main Entrance to Riverview Park
Slogan"Laugh Your Troubles Away!", "Chicago's famous Amusement Park"
Location3727 N Western Ave, Chicago 60618
OpenedJuly 2, 1904
ClosedSeptember 4, 1967
StatusClosed

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 Ave. on the east by Western Ave, 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.[1]

Rides[edit]

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 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 of Rides/Attraction

This chart is missing information. Please add to it if you happen to know anything.

Ride Year built Year closed Manufactuer and ride type Description
Bobs 1924 1967 Wooden Roller Coaster
Comet Roller Coaster
Silver Flash Roller Coaster
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 Old fashioned water ride
Hades Fun house
The Rotor 1967 The Rotor was a spinning ride where the floor dropped out from under riders. They were then held to the wall by centripetal force.

The ride was sold to six flags but then was opened at Marriott's Great America in 1976. It was then closed in 2000 because of a ride malfunction that led to 2 girls feet getting squished in the ride. The Rotor at Riverview was NOT operative at Great America, this is a false rumor.

Tilt-a-Whirl Tilt-a-Whirl
Wild mouse Wild mouse coaster
Mill on the Floss 1967 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 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 This ride lifted riders to the top of a tower before dropping carts attached to parachutes
Carousel 1908 1964 Carousel 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
Freak show 1950s Show A show that featured Betty Lou Williams, the worlds only 4 legged girl, and a trained magician 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
Hot Rods 1955
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.[2] 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.[3]

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]

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, once on display at its namesake, Riverview Tavern, located on the corner of West Roscoe Street and Damen Avenue from 2005 to 2018.[4] The Riverview Carousel continues to operate at Six Flags Over Georgia.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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. ^ Shaffer, Randi (October 4, 2017). "50 Years Later: A Timeline of Chicago's Riverview Park". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Kogan, Rick. "Remembering Riverview Park, 50 years later". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  3. ^ Rosemont, Franklin (2002) Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Culture, Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company
  4. ^ "The Reveler To Celebrate Grand Opening In Roscoe Village". North Center-Roscoe Village, IL Patch. 2018-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  5. ^ www.sixflags.com
  6. ^ "2 Girls Injured On Great America Ride". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  7. ^ IPDB.org

Further reading[edit]

Gee, Derek and Lopez, Ralph (c. 2000). Laugh your troubles away : The complete history of Riverview Park, Chicago, Illinois. Livonia, MI: Sharpshooters Productions, Inc.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°56′30″N 87°41′27″W / 41.9418°N 87.6907°W / 41.9418; -87.6907