Tuesday, October 13, 2009

City Hall and Friends, 1957

Our photographer of the day loved City Hall and Town Square!

There's City Hall, decked out in Christmas decorations. As you can see, the California winter was cruel this year, requiring people to wear itchy cardigans and maybe even a dreaded flannel shirt. Is that crowd to the left in line for the Horse Drawn Streetcar?

Our photographer managed to pivot to the right somewhat, and captured a Streetcar filling up with a fresh load of guests. I sure love the way the ladies look in those 50's skirts!

The Surrey passes by the Streetcar, drawn by two snowy-white horses (the Streetcar used one horse, but he's a big fella!).


Following up yesterday's Kiddy-Land post, I received an email from Jennifer & Tim Doane, suggesting that the photos could be of Kiddy Land from Melrose Park, Illinois. Since some of the other photos in the lot were from Illinois, this sounds like a good guess. Take a look at some reference they sent, here and here. Sadly, this little park closed LAST MONTH! I love the little train, which must have been manufactured by the same company, but now I am thinking it might not be the same place (many thanks for the research and the email though, Jennifer and Tim!).

In the comments, Vaughn suggests that it could be from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has found "Mayo's Garden Center", which just happens to be up the road from a "Kingston Pike Shopping Center". It really does look like that could be it, you can see a sign for a Kingston Pike Center in the background in photo. If you look it up on Google Maps, it sure seems like you can tell where Kiddy-Land used to be (although there is no miniature train any more).



Anonymous said...

In fact, when you use street view, and move to Kingston Pike and Forest Park, turn West, you are looking at the same Mayo's building, now with a weber grills sign on the side, and a yard full of patio furniture.
KiddyLand seems to have been replaced by a CitGo Station and a big box retailer with a large parking lot.

Anonymous said...

The Melrose Park location seems to be much larger and more of an actual park, while the snack shop really looks to me like a restaurant that decided to add a couple of rides to encourage customers. Knoxville is sounding promising.

Anonymous said...

KiddyLand appears to be at the northeast intersection of North Forest Park Blvd and US 70 in Knoxville. The exact same Mayo store is still in the same location, a newer CITGO station is where KiddyLand was, as others have reported. A little bittersweet that it's not still there, even tough I never even knew it existed until the Major posted photos!!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

First of all, nice set of City Hall & Town Square, this is the cool stuff we only find on Gorilla's Don't Blog - Thanks!

Regarding the Kiddy-land that just closed, where did that cool little train end up???????

Nancy said...

lovely shots of Main Street on a gorgeous blue-sky day...my favorite kind! i always enjoy seeing the horses.

very cool that you were able to get some followup on Kiddy-Land as well :D

Chiana_Chat said...

Look at the driver of that surrey. And City Hall behind looks strikingly authentic too.

Hm with the crowd out I wonder if it was just before or after a parade time.

Thanks as always Maj.

Andrew said...


I love your vintage Disneyland posts. Keep it up!

Since the subject came up about the Kiddieland in Melrose Park, IL, here is the latest local news article from Oct. 8, 2009.

Kiddieland rides' deal now in limbo
October 8, 2009
By CHUCK FIELDMAN cfieldman@pioneerlocal.com
The owners of Kiddieland in Melrose Park are concerned that a deal to sell most of the 81-year-old amusement park's rides and sign for a re-opening about 85 miles from Chicago might not be completed.

Kiddieland closed for good Oct. 4 when the owner/operators of the park failed to have their lease renewed for the land on which it sits.

Joe Hook, general managing partner of Grizzly Jack's, which has an indoor water park and is located in Utica, Ill., on 60 acres across the road from Starved Rock State Park, had agreed to purchase most of Kiddieland, Norini said.

However, calls made by Kiddieland's owners to Hook during the week prior to the amusement park's Oct. 4 closing were not returned, Norini said.

"We have a signed agreement, but I don't know what's going on now," Norini said Oct. 4. "We've had others express interest in some of the rides, but we really haven't been talking to anyone else because we thought we had someone who wanted to take just about everything and re-open the park."

Pioneer Press left several telephone messages for Hook over the past week; none of the calls were returned.

A news release issued by Grizzly Jack's in November 2008 stated that the resort already owns some of the famous rides and props from Santa's Village, a 47-year-old amusement park in East Dundee that closed in 2006.