Upon reading it, I stumbled across a little blurb about how Taft was in design stages for King's Dominion in Richmond but was also eyeing the Toronto and Chicago areas for future park development.
This intrigued me. Obviously we now know that Toronto finally got Wonderland, yet Chicago never got their Taft park. The interest in their development came at a time when Riverview was closed (I believe) and Mariott had yet to begin to develop or build what is now SFGAM. Great America did not open until 1976.
Well, I have just unearthed the details of the Chicago plans. The option to puchase land in the Chicago area by Taft (this was prior to "KECO" being formed and all fell under the Taft umbrella) had been secured and the Chicago area park was indeed in the initial development stages.
I am not that familiar with Chicago and it's layout, however maybe other locals can help. By the end of 1973, Taft had secured the option to buy and develop 800 acres of land on the Northwest Illinois Tollway (Interstate 90) at State Road 47. They were "actively investigating the development of an amusement park and leisure time complex in that location" according to my information. All of this was ocurring in the spring of 1973 following the success of Kings Island's opening.
My question to locals is, wouldn't this be near the area where Great America was eventually developed? Doesn't it seem ironic that when Mariott no longer operated the Great Americas that Taft (which by then had become a KECO park)was enlisted to manage the CA location, while the Chicago park was sold to SF? I am still curious about all of this and hope to find out more details.
My initial perception is that basically there must have been some sour grapes that developed between Taft and Chicago area planners. I expect that maybe Taft either pulled out and Mariott took over, or Mariott pulled the rug from under Taft's feet and developed GAM with the cooperation of the city. Perhaps from there, when Mariott's reign ended years later, KECO was approaced to take over the Chicago Great America but passed allowing for SF to buy the park. They opted to take the reigns of the CA park and eventually bought the lions share. Hence Paramount's Great America in CA.
But with each passing tid-bit of info I get about Chicago, it seems we almost had a Paramount's Great America in the midwest!
Hmmmmmm, isn't this interesting? Does anyone else have any insight?
A.K.A. John K.
*** This post was edited by Shaggy on 2/14/2002. ***
I-90 and 47 is a pretty rural area, but at that location is currently a 50-or-so store outlet shopping center. I've never stopped, so I don't know the year it was built. Judging by the architecture and look of the place, I'd hazard a guess that it was built in the late '80's or early '90's.
"Just remember, wherever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai
Interesting find Shaggy. They would have been able to aquire that land for next to nothing back in the 70's.
"The Peoples Elbow" or "The Spinaroonie?. Cant decide which is the most electrifying move in sports entertainment!!! LOL
*** This post was edited by Coaster Art Guy on 2/14/2002. ***
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