Postcard photo of the Midway at Riverview Park, Chicago circa 1909.
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Today there are amusement parks through out the country with extreme rides. They are great, and I have enjoyed visiting several of them. When I was growing up the amusement park of the time in Chicago was Riverview. Going to Riverview was the big treat of the summer. It was family tradition to go to Riverview. It opened on 1908 so my grandparents and parents went when they were young. I usually managed to go several times each summer. I believe we spent around $5.00 to go. They charged by the ride. You paid only for the rides you went on. They ran anywhere from 5 cents to 25 cents.
My father took me on my first roller coaster ride (the Greyhound) when I was five years old. After that I went on the Blue Steak, Fireball, Comet, and Bobs. The roller coasters were my favorite ride. You could ride them again and again without getting off. You just paid the attendant and rode again. I remember going with my cousin and her boyfriend. She didn’t like riding roller coasters so her boyfriend and I rode all of them several times in a row. I went with my parents, girl friends, cousin, and aunt throughout the summer.
My aunt took me on the Bobs roller coaster the first time and on the parachutes the first time too. I also liked the Chute to Chutes (a water ride). They had the usual rides Tilt-a-whirl, Whip, Merry-go-round, and Ferris wheel. Some of my other favorites were the Water Bug, Boomerang, Caterpillar, Tunnel-of-love, Bumper Cars, Train, Riverboat, Wild Mouse coaster. There was a fun house called Aladdin’s Castle, arcades, and a freak show. There were many more rides and other things to do.
Unless you grew up in or near Chicago and went to Riverview you won’t understand its charm. It was torn down in 1967 with little notice to the public. Everyone missed their last chance to go one more time. A few weeks ago a friend sent me a link to the best Riverview site. This site describes Riverview better than I ever could. Plus there are pictures and videos. If you are a Riverview fan go to this site and enjoy the memories. If not, go there anyway and see what you missed!
Copyright © 2013 Gail Grunst