Sunday, November 9, 2003 8:01 PM
Did anyone here ever visit Old Chicago before it closed in 1981? It was a 500,000 sq. ft. indoor amusement park (possibly the first indoor park?) that opened in 1975 outside Chicago. Just wondering how the park was.
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Sunday, November 9, 2003 8:32 PM
Yep, my parents took me there about 3 times. It was the first indoor park in the country (possibly the world). Due to politics and bad management, Old Chicago didn't last long which is a shame.

I remember the park being fun, but its sketchy at best. Paul Drabek has possibly the most informative info on this prototype park. You can visit the link here.

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Sunday, November 9, 2003 8:48 PM
My parents took me when I was a little, little kid. Paul's site has great info and pictures, and my mom and I are convinced I'm in the Jelley Belly picture from the Fun Factory. Very vague memories (I was between 4-6 years old at best) but I do remember wishing I could ride the Chicago Loop!
*** This post was edited by dawnmarie313 11/10/2003 1:49:18 AM ***
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Monday, November 10, 2003 5:00 AM
I wish it were still around. As I am sure many people do. I also wish Riverview was around.
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Monday, November 10, 2003 5:06 AM
Well you can still ride the Chicago Loop, As it now currently resides @ Canobie Lake Park

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Monday, November 10, 2003 5:07 AM
I as well attended Old Chicago just 1 time. All I remember is crowds, a roller coaster that I couldnt ride, and a ferris wheel I could.

And after hearing my dad rave about The Bobs and Riverview for 27 years, I too wish it were still around.

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Monday, November 10, 2003 7:34 AM
I grew up about 5 miles from Old Chicago and got my first coaster ride there on the "Chicago Cat". We went there literally all the time and I have many fond recollections of it. If you're interested I have a section on www.negative-g.com devoted to Old Chicago with a complete history as well as photos of the park, the mall and it's too soon destruction.

Have Fun!

Paul Drabek

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Monday, November 10, 2003 8:21 AM
I too visited there only once. I enjoyed it and was disappointed when it closed but keep in mind this was a mall first and an amusement park second; similar to Mall Of America in MN.

My understanding was that the rent charged to the stores was very high and the high rents were of course passed on to shoppers. And being so far from any densely populated areas (at the time) there was limited shoppers to begin with. Bolingbrook's population alone couldn't support it.

Now that there's more people living out that way, a facility like that might stand a better chance but I would doubt anyone would undertake the effort.

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

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Monday, November 10, 2003 8:32 AM
The biggest problem and the main reason Old Chicago failed was that it wasn't really a "shopping mall". There were NO anchor stores list Sears, Penneys, etc. Most of the stores were jeans stores,t-shirt stores and the like. After your visited the stores once, the only reason to come back was for the park. Although the concept was like Mall of America or the Edmonton Mall, the execution was not good. I visited many times and rode my first looping coaster there - The Chicago Loop.

Mike

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Laugh your troubles away at Riverview, the world's largest amusement park.

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Monday, November 10, 2003 9:01 AM
Ahhh, finally I found out where Brian De Palma shot that notorious "Paratrooper vs. window"-scene. That site is great. Lots of nice pictures with a severe seventies-feel. Its sad to see the damage after such a short time. Too bad it was not more successful.

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Krustys Komedy Klassiks

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Monday, November 10, 2003 9:27 AM
Paul's site is the best Olde Chicago site on the net - Kudos, Paul!

Growing up in the Chicago south burbs in the 70's (in 1975-1981, I was 11 - 17), we made a trip to OC about one a month - family, scouts, birthday parties - always seemed to be something going on. We never shopped in the stores. Neither did my parents. Did eat at the Wendy's, tho. First one I ever remember seeing. I thought it was an Old Chicago themed restaurant!

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Monday, November 10, 2003 10:08 AM
i went to old chicago a few times when i was a kid i dont rember much i wish it was still around
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Monday, November 10, 2003 10:30 AM
"Ahhh, finally I found out where Brian De Palma shot that notorious "Paratrooper vs. window"-scene."

Ya know...I always wondered that, too!

mOOSH
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Monday, November 10, 2003 11:27 AM
I was there when they shot a bunch of those scenes. The Biregarten was a realluy great place to eat. I went there numerous times including my t-ball team banquet.

The big reason OC failed is due to bankruptcy reorganization Illinois Central was forced into managing the place and they had neither the skill or desire to make it succeed. Check out my history section, there's more detailed info about why OC failed.

BTW if anyone has any OC pictures in their collection or TR's from the park I'd love ad them to my OC section.

Have Fun!

Paul Drabek

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Monday, November 10, 2003 3:52 PM
Could you imagine if Old Chicago and Riverview were still open along with SFGAm?

That would be heaven on earth for us Illinois enthusiasts. :)

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Arena football has arrived in the Windy City. Go "Chicago Rush"

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Monday, November 10, 2003 4:12 PM
Agreed Chitown....and don't forget to add to that list the old Forest Park Amusement Park as well. From what I have read, they had some pretty wild (and dangerous) rides there. Wasn't around for long, but sure did have an impact on the area. Despite knowing "where" it was, I have a hard time imagining a park located where the CTA station/building is at. Then again, there was no Eisenhower Expressway at that time.

Read more here:
http://fpshome.northstarnet.org/AmusementPark.htm

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Monday, November 10, 2003 8:14 PM
Thanks for sharing that info about Forest Park. I grew up very near there and had never heard of it 'til now. Neat. :)Anyone have any information on Chicago's Hollywood Kiddieland, somewhere on the north side near Lincolnwood? My dad worked there as a teenager and "operated" the Swinging Gyms and several other rides. He says it was a pretty sketchy park and didn't have a major coaster...
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Tuesday, November 11, 2003 4:00 AM
I also grew up "right by" where Forest Park Amusement Park was....like I said, hard to believe a 22 acre park used to be there. While it was only around for 15 years, it seems like it was the place to be back in the day.

Another old park from that general area (and from my childhood) was the old Kiddie Kingdom out in Oakbrook Terrace. I barely remember going there but a few times....but I always remember driving past it when we'd out on Roosevelt Road going West past 83. Was always a cool looking place.....and you can't forget the big hill across from it where they used to have the water slides either!

Here's just a bit of info on the old Kiddie Kingdom:
http://members.tripod.com/lisawebworld1/kiddiekingdom.html

As far as Old Chicago, all I know of that place is the stories I hear and the pictures I see.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003 4:31 AM
I always wondered what that hill was there for! It's about 3 miles from my office. Looks verrry out of place among the blank flatness that is northern Illinois.
I just assumed it was a former landfill or something.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003 5:43 AM
Yah, that big hill once was home to a water slide park....and, actually, I think if you stare really hard you can still see the blue slides that are buried underneath all the brush that has grown up since they shut down the hill. I forget the name, but it was something like Racing Rapids or Magic Waters....a typical water park type name.

Kiddie Kingdom was right across 38 from that hill....where the Oakbrook Terrace Tower is actually. I remember I was pretty bummed when they finally tore down Kiddie Kingdom, but at least they didn't turn the area into a strip mall! They replaced the Kingdom with a pretty nice looking building....the tallest building in Illinois (outside of Chicago, of course).

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