Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: January 21, 2009 12:35PM

At the corner of Diversey and Narragansett was a ski resort named Thunder Mountain. This was between about 1968 and 1972. The "mountain" was actually created by the city using the empty land to dump rubble from the construction of the Kennedy Expressway. I would imagine that after the huge snow totals in 1967, someone thought Chicago would be a ski hotspot. Obviously, that didin't work out.
I remember the land sitting empty for years before it was finnaly used for the Brick Yard Mall. Twin Buick on Grand Ave. used the empty land to park new vehicles for years. The abandoned mountain was a perfect spot for a bunch of 12-13 year old kids in the neighborhood for climbing around and doing some exotic exploring. Does anyone have any other information, photos or even memoribilia from this place? I remember being about 5 years old and seeing the lights on top of the mountain at night. There was also a "chalet" up there. I lived approximately 4 blocks away. I never thought about this place until it was too late to ask older folks in the neighborhood. There are very few if any original families around there anymore. Any info would really be appreciated.

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: jjcairo (
Date: January 31, 2009 11:52PM

in the early 20's to the 50's that used to be the mining pit for the carry brick co. they exavated the mud to make the paver and house bricks for the streets of chicago. the baking ovens stood right behind the brick yard mall to the west. com ed uses the property now. the baking ovens used to run north and south from deversy to grand. what really happened from what i told by my dad they hit a under ground spring while digging in the late 50's and it began to fill with water. he lived right next door to the wolf camera shop on deversy just one block west of narragansett when he was a kid. i remember looking through the fence when i was just a kid visting my grand parents who stll lived there up untill the early 70's. seeing the trucks and real steam shovels that dug and brought up the brick mud. they looked like small toys on the winding road around the pit. it was really deep! carry brick went bust after that. it became a land fill in the 60's for the city when it was topped off, someone got the idea to build a ski resort on top of it. it only lasted for a couple of winter seasons and closed. the land sat dorment for years for the exception of some car dealer parking new car inventories. untill they built the mall. that was a weird area around there. they had a road a few blocks away in back of a goverment factory that went no where. they say it was to test radar during ww2. that's another story!

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: captain54 (
Date: February 01, 2009 05:14AM

jjcairo Wrote:
> untill they
> built the mall. that was a weird area around
> there.

Not as weird as "Old Chicago" in Bolingbrook, IL, built in 75'. Combination indoor amusement park and shopping mall.

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: barrytharp (
Date: January 16, 2012 05:33PM

Thunder Mountain was built by my grandfather, Robert Carey, on the site of one of the family brickyards, which is now the Brickyard Shopping Center. It was still an operating brickyard at the time, in 1968 and 1969, with the skiing primarily going down into the hole created by the digging for clay over the years. There was a chalet there, for eating, drinking, equipment rentals, etc. It is a great trivia question to know that there was a real, legitimate ski area in the city of Chicago with multiple lifts, ski patrol, instructors, etc.! Win a bet at your local watering hole. The two years it was open were historically low for snowfall and this was before snowmaking equipment that so many ski areas rely on now. Who knows, it might have still been around today with present technology. Our family also owns and operates Hawthorne Race Track for more than 100 years and are all avid skiers. I personally was inspired by Thunder Mountain and was fortunate to get involved on the team that developed the Telluride Ski Resort and Mountain Village in Colorado.

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: rjmachon (
Date: January 25, 2012 04:15AM

I rode my Suzuki dirt bike to the bottom of the pit in 1976. Now getting out was another story. I almost made it up the hill. I had to walk the bike out part of the way. That was one heck of a hole in the ground!

Thanks for the info. I always wondered about this pit with the lifts and what the name of this ski area was.

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: Carol223 (
Date: September 10, 2013 02:16PM

My husband insists that his friend had part ownership in Thunder Mountain and that is still ran till the opening of the brickyard. I lived in that area for 25 years and know that it was closed down for a never long time. I would like to know the full details from barrtharp above what the truth is. I do know the original Brickyard had problems with the ground settling, I worked at the Jewel. When we had the snow in 1979 the roof cracked. The sewers also failed and the backroom would take on water.The roof inside Jewel could not be fixed, a rain gutter had to be run under it to fix the leak. I would appreciate the truth behind it all.

Re: Thunder Mountain in Chicago
Posted by: rjmachon (
Date: October 04, 2013 07:21PM

@ Carol, It was closed by 1976. There was a bunch of people hanging out there riding dirt bikes. Plus I don't remember any of the lift cables being up as well. Here is an article I found.

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