Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Riverview was no Disney

riverview park

Above picture of the Bob's from Fred R. Krauss

They both had fun rides but Riverview was more of a carnival that just didn't leave town. It had a midway with games and freak shows. Riverview closed in 1967, maybe it would have changed but some speculate that the social changes pushed the owners into selling the property. There's a few sites out there now with some its history.


The favorite rides I can remember
  • wild mouse
  • water chute
  • parachute drop
  • Bobs (above picture)
  • Fireball
  • Flying Turns

then we started walking

Riverview was the big time amusement wonderland for a Chicagoland kid in the sixties. I'm not sure how many times I had been there. Not many. I grew up in town 30 plus miles away from that northwestern part of Chicago.

My last trip there I'll remember because of the stupid idea I tried. I don't recall the names of my buddies that night, but for this telling of the story I'll use Jack and Sam. We were hormone charged teenage boys.

A convincing reason my parents agreed to my trip there was because it was a Church youth group. Jack and I knew each other but not real well. We lived in different neighborhoods but knew each other from school. On this trip that didn't matter because Jack was cool and hanging with him could only help.

At the park we connected with Sam. Sam knew others in the youth group but he had traveled to the park with his family.

I don't recall which one came up with the brilliant idea but I know I agree it was a great plan.

The idea - Jack and I would skip the youth group bus ride home and get a ride with Sam. This would give us extra time and rides at the park.

Trying to recall the event now, I'm puzzled why we didn't keep close contact with Sam after our plan was launched. Also, now I wonder if Sam even asked his parents.

Oh well, the last call for the bus went out on the park speakers. Jack and I just smiled and started counting our extra time. The big decision at hand was what ride should we hop on.

It wasn't that long before the place had all but emptied out and we were still looking for Sam. We didn't want to believe his car was gone, but it was.

So we left the park in the middle of the night. I guess it might of been about 1 AM. Of course, we didn't have much money left by now.

We headed south down Western Ave. which became emptier and emptier. Most everything was closed except the bars.

I don't know how far we walked but I guess a few miles. Jack refused to call his parents. Finally, I had walked enough, it was late enough, and I had enough. The adventure wasn't much fun anymore.

I called home - talked to my mom and then my dad. I should have recorded notes on that conversation because memory of it fades over time and it would be interesting to read now. Today my dad's reply could be shorted to WTF.

He drove up in the middle of night and rescued us from a long journey home. He was upset but not as much as I expected maybe he understood teens are prone to dumb things. I never thanked him enough for that ride - I wish I could.

Another difference - Riverview didn't have cute characters like these two below. They had characters on the midway but they were anything but cute. Not Disney standard!

disney characters

Today the internet provides good resources for remembering those past memories.


here's a some links
Chicago Tribune pictures
Jazz Age Chicago
site selling book DVD

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