Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kiddy Town, Illinois - August 1963

Today's slides are from a small batch that I found in a box. Folks who read this blog regularly know that I am a sucker for any amusement park, no matter how small. In fact, the smaller and funkier, the better!


In this first picture, you can see a sign to the right that lets us know the name of the park - Kiddy Town! The miniature car ride looks very similar to another Illinois kiddie park that was seen on this blog a while ago (Hollywood Kiddieland). Those little sports cars run on real gasoline; love the old fashioned gas pumps! And just like real sports cars, they barely hold a full-sized adult


It took a bit of time to discover where Kiddy Town was; it turns out that it was in Norridge, Illinois. See that sign in the background, the one that says something about a "free fire truck ride to the park"? Well, somebody on flickr had this great vintage postcard with a photo of the "fire truck" (a modified station wagon or pickup truck?). As far as I can tell, Kiddy Town opened in 1953, and closed sometime around 1966.


Let's go to HoJo's afterwards for some fried clams and a Coke. If anybody knows anything more about Kiddy Town, please share.


I have three more photos from this place - stay tuned!
__________________________________
Here is a zoom in on that red thing in the background - turns out it is some contraption mounted to the back of a truck. I still have no idea what it actually is!

24 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Fun stuff, Major! That's an odd track that those cars are running on...and is that some sort of large military gun (painted red) on the other side of the bushes in the parking lot?

Matterhorn1959 said...

Wonderful images...another park for me to be on the lookout for souvenirs and images. I do like how mom got to sit on the back of the car. The track appears to be based upon a miniature railroad.

Andrew said...

Thank you for another interesting gem!

Connie Moreno said...

Wow, that makes me wish I was a kid again!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Those little cars are awesome! I like how they have real (looking) gas pumps yet I think these are electric cars. Great find on the postcard!

MIKE said...

What street was this on and how come it lasted such a short time?

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, I have no idea what that red thing is... could it really be a howitzer (or whatever)??

Matterhorn, Andrew and Connie, glad you liked these!

VDT, I wonder if they are electric. Do you think that it operates on the same principle as the Alice in Wonderland ride?

Mike the address on that postcard that I linked to says that it was at 4250 N. Harlem Avenue in Norridge. I can only assume that it didn't last long for financial reasons, but don't know for sure.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks for taking the time to post the close-up, Major! Maybe on your birthday, you could choose between riding in the firetruck or riding on top of a giant gun ? Doesn't Cher do that in one of her videos?

JG said...

That thing looks like a water cannon, or maybe the nozzle from a fire boat. is this place close to the sea?

I love these little local parks too, Major. When I was a little shaver, the Rotary Club Storybook Land in Roeding Park in Fresno was the place to be. I'm gonna look for some pics of that on-line. It was really nice in the day. Bet its gone now.

We can blame the gargoyle lawyers for the liability suits that did in so many of these little places.

Hey Anonymous, I'm talking to you!

JG

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, if you can find photos of that Rotary Club Storybook Land, I'd love to see them!

It might be that lawyers are partly to blame for so many of these little parks closing, but I'm guessing that it eventually just got too difficult to keep them profitable enough to keep open.

MIKE COZART said...

Those cars are the KIDDIE AUTO ride by the Allan Herschell Company of Buffalo New York. They also offered a oldtime 2 -seater FLIVVER auto ride that ran on the same track. They were also the manufacturer of the BOBSLED roller coaster at Santa's Village Skyforrest.

JG said...

Hey Major, I just googled the Fresno Rotary Playland. Not only are they still in business, this is their website>>http://storylandplayland.com/
Looks like some of the rides from my youth still exist. I remember being in that caged Ferris Wheel, probably second grade.

Check it out. Thanks for making me go look for it.

JG

Major Pepperidge said...

That's very cool, JG! So nice to know that they've managed to survive after all these years.

It reminds me of "Happy Hollow" in San Jose, which I used to visit with my sister and her kids about 8 years ago. Such a wonderful little, old fashioned park!

MIKE said...

This had to have been between Lawerence and Montrose.

I noticed the sign for the Community Discount store.

Don't know if it existed in the 60's but in the 70's there was a lumber yard called Joseph's which was across from it.

Funny they have streetlights up and down Harlem today and none here.

Wonder why?

Mike B said...

This was at the north end of the Harlem Irving Plaza. I have 2 more pictures of roller coasters from Kiddy Town, how do I get them to whoever runs the blog? Also , I'd like to see the other 3 you said you have! Love this stuff! tHanks for posting

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike B, if you scroll to the top of the page and see the text near the "About Me" section, I give my email address. I'd love to see your photos!

The other 3 photos were published on my blog on March 6, you can find it in the archives.

Anonymous said...

Boy, am I late to this party. But, I can remember leaving that very Howard Johnson's with Mom and Dad and sister one night. A fellow staggered up to us and asked for help in broken English. Suddenly, my dad, who was raised in a Polish-speaking household, starts talking to the guy in Polish. It was the first time we had ever heard him speak the language he grew up using. He was so cool in our eyes. Thanks for these great photos, bring back great memories.

HIP-Blogger said...

Thanks so much for posting these photos and talking about Kiddie Town! The HIP-Blog would like to know if it can use your photos and will link to your thread on the topic with full credit given.

Mike G said...

The property was bought by a bank. It became United savings and then a host of successors. The rides were all sent over to Kiddieland in Melrose Park at North & Cumberland. That park stayed open until last year. Unity Savings changed names a few times. The old Train Garage From Kiddytown actually was around into 1970's. I think someone used it as a mechanic's garage. They just tore down the bank and are adding an expansion to the harlem Irving Plaza a/k/a harlem Irving Mall on the old property

Anonymous said...

I was a teenager growing up in Norridge in the 60's. The Kiddytown penny arcade was my hangout at the time. I worked as a relief ride operator when needed. I also would clean the glasses on the pinball machines for extra spending money which went right back into the machines. Pinball machines were 5 balls for a nickel. Kiddytown originally started 1-2 blocks south and relocated for the building of the Harlem Irving Plaza. Across Harlem Avenue was an outdoor movie theater. Times were much simpler then and we always had fun.

Anonymous said...

I grew up east of Harlem,south of Montrose, my brother n I used to walk to Kiddyland, they had the helicopter ride we really enjoyed.Also Starks was across from the adjustment park, Great memories

Anonymous said...

Great memories, great times Kiddy Land ,helicopter ride was.my fav

Anonymous said...

The "red thing" is a crane truck. It has a tubular, extending boom
mounted on the truck. It is parked in the Howard Johnson's parking
lot that was just south of the park.

It is not part of Kiddy Town.

Anonymous said...

Bingo..after it shut down..it was Unity Savings