Thursday, April 07, 2016
Today, Ken Martinez continues his series of vintage amusement park postcards with a park that I am totally unfamiliar with, even though I am a Chicago boy (I moved away when I was a tadpole, so I have a good excuse). Here's Ken:
Chicago's Riverview Park
Chicago's Riverview Park is considred legendary among amusement park enthusiasts and old time Chicagoans. It operated for 64 season from 1903 to 1967 on 74 acres, making it one of the largest and most popular parks of its time. It's also a good example of a premier traditional amusement park that failed to survive through the modern theme park era.
Here is the Red, White and Blue Entrance to Riverview Park. At one time there were seven roller coasters operating at the park, six of them wooden and one a steel Wild Mouse. All together 19 roller coasters were built at the park throughout its 64 year history.
Pictured here is the Riverview Park's Carousel, a five-row Merry-go-round built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1908. When the park closed, it was saved from demolition when it was purchased by Six Flags. You can still ride this carousel, but not at Riverview Park.
When Riverview Park closed, Six Flags purchased the Carousel and then restored it and moved it to Six Flags over Georgia (pictured here) where it's still in operation today.
The Coaster everone came to ride at Riverview Park was "The Bobs". This black and white cardboard photo was probably sold with a set from a vending machine. I remember cards like this as a child.
Here is the entrance to "The Bobs" which was considered the premier ride at Riverview Park. It had a reputation for high speeds, sudden drops and hidden turns, and was considered one of the most tortuous devices ever created for an amusement park.
The Silver Flash (formerly Pippin) was similar to the "Comet" roller coaster also at the park, in that unusual covered coaster trains made to look like modern streamliners were used. It must've provided an interesting ride.
Chicago was stunned when it was announced in October 1967 that Riverview Park would close forever. In the 1960's the Park would experience increasing crime with pickpockets on the midway and purse snatchers in the dark funhouses. Ultimately the land was worth more than the park's revenue, so it was closed and the land wold for development.
Hope you enjoyed your visit to Chicago's famous Riverview Park.
Information Source Material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database http://recb.com/
THANK YOU as always for this cool article about a park that I'd never heard of! There is much more to come from Ken Martinez, so stay tuned.