Re: Riverview & surrounding area
Posted by: twaflyer1 ()
Date: March 12, 2014 08:40PM

When we moved from the old neighborhood (Grand & Ashland,) we moved to 3707 N. Kedzie (No longer there)! But from the back yard, we would watch the fireworks show every July 4th., then go with a couple of guys to find some unexploded fireworks!
But another question someone might know something about! Right on the Northeast corner of Belmont & Western, was an old wooden 2 story structure with a pigeon coop in back of it! The building must have been built in the 1870s sometime! Any info, especially the name of the building so I can look it up? I was born in the 40s, so the late 50s and early 60s were the days, even though I was terribly sick most of the time! I recently moved from Chicago to Fullerton, Ca, which has a great beauty of its own, but nothing compares to Chicago!! TWA...

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: March 17, 2014 06:45PM

It was torn down a little while after 1998. It is a use car lot now.

The address could have been 2358 West Belmont and the building could have been built around 1896.

I remember going by this building but nothing really more about.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2014 07:19PM by rjmachon.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: PKDickman ()
Date: March 17, 2014 07:25PM

I remember that building.
You can get a glimpse of the corner of it here...(if the link works)
[url=http://www.whatwasthere.com/browse.aspx#!/ll/41.939163,-87.687905/id/45133/info/details/zoom/18/]Whatwasthere.com link[/url]

When I moved into Wicker park in the 80s it was painted yellow or orange.

It and several buildings to the east had been spliced together to create one long storefront. I think it was used as a auto showroom.
I was always amazed that it could stand up, given the way it had been chopped to pieces.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: mishadoc ()
Date: December 16, 2014 12:12PM

God I loved Riverview! To this day I can't go into any amusement park without thinking and in some way comparing it to the mighty Riverview. I remember as a kid walking along the river, thinking it would carry me to some far off, enchanted world! Ah Childhood!

Re: Riverview
Posted by: Diogenes9561 ()
Date: December 19, 2014 01:11PM

Christmas time reminds me that, though Riverview was closed after Labor Day, the parking lot at Belmont and Western became a giant Christmas tree lot after Thanksgiving. I still remember going there with my sister, my Dad, and my Grandfather to find our tree each year. We moved near Roscoe and Oakley in what is now Roscoe Village about 1954 and lived there until 1963 and we always went to Riverview for our Christmas tree.
My Grandfather and my Dad always looked at the $2 trees first, then the $3, $4, and $5 trees. Then, back to the $2 trees and we picked the best of that lot. My sister and I really didn't care much which we bought as the cold, the lights, the warming fires in the steel drums, the smell of the pines, and the general excitement of Christmas made it a magic place.
Grandpa passed away in 1962 and tree shopping was never the same again, but the good memories of long ago Christmases remain.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/25/2014 08:22PM by Diogenes9561.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: thimmaker ()
Date: April 21, 2015 06:54PM

Back to the reason that the overpass was built,it really had nothing to do with Riverview since the main entrance to Riverview was North of the end of the overpass at Roscoe. The problem was Clybourn.Ave. Too many ways to turn off of clybourn. The overpass stopped that problem by letting Western ave. flow through.Made it a lot easier for foot traffic to cross that intersection to get to the park. Went to Lane Tech from 47 to 51 and spent a lot of study periods at Riverview. The fence next to the driving course was real loose at the bottom.Geo.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: April 22, 2015 10:08PM

That overpass is scheduled to be removed shortly! I think this year.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 23, 2015 01:29PM

some people've said the western ave overpass had nothing to do with riverview in the early '60s but i'm inclined to think it did. now the city of chicago doesn't feel like fixing it so they want to tear it down, this year even. lunacy. it provides N-S drivers rare relief in a city of otherwise perpetually congested thoroughfares. IMO the real reason is the police station on the belmont corner, and traffic must not bypass it under any circumstances (a few years ago the same situtation came up @ central & grand aves)

Re: Riverview
Posted by: Dunning1 ()
Date: April 23, 2015 01:58PM

Don't forget that Riverview was owned by Alderman Charlie Weber, who mysteriously died with his young bride in the new house he built for them on the NE corner of Wolcott and Addison. I believe it happened in 1960. The story was that one of them left their Cadillac running in the garage, and they both died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Weber was a Republican alderman on the north side for years, and was also a beer distributor. His beer distribution company was at Roscoe and Southport. He was long single, but married a much younger woman in the late 1950's and built that house for her. It was right after his death that Riverview went into decline and was sold off to developers.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: avers2102 ()
Date: April 25, 2015 08:12PM

My dad took me there many times in the late 50's. I remember the Fun House, the shooting range, the train ride, the bumper cars, and the miniature golf course. And, of course, the Bobs!

Maybe it was an urban myth, but my Dad's favorite story about the Bobs was of a man who (during the time he was going there as a young man) was goofing off and stood up while on the the ride, and was decapitated as the coaster went under one of the supports! Anyone else ever hear that story?

My all-time favorite, though, was the Shoot-the-Shoots!

Re: Riverview
Posted by: ambrosemario ()
Date: April 25, 2015 09:04PM

A relative of mine moved into the Old Irving Park area about 20/25 years ago at a time when that area's real estate was starting to take off. He and I were in a neighborhood tavern back then that had a mixed crowd of 20 something's, off duty cops, firemen as well as a small group that I would describe as older southern gentlemen who clearly were regulars. They seemed a bit out of place in Chicago's north side so I asked the bartender about them and was told that they were former employees of Riverview. He said that many RV employees bought homes in this area because it was inexpensive and close to Riverview. He said that back in the day most of his regulars were RV people and that most of them were originally from West Virginia. Over the years many passed on and others moved back to West Virginia. Finally, he said that the few remaining would soon be moving back because prices in the neighborhood had gotten so ridiculously high they were selling out and moving back home. It was an interesting Chicago story. I assume h knew what he was talking about, but wonder if anyone who grew up n this area knew anymore about this Irvng Park history.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: April 27, 2015 02:29AM

@avers2102, That was true. One person was killed on the Bobs from standing up. I think three people had died on Riverview rides during it existence. I know that one person had died when the chains snapped on his ride and the cage that he was in flew into the river and he drowned. I don't recall the name of the ride. It was something like the Strat-O-Stat. I think the third person drowned in the Tunnel of Love when he fell into the water. He was a little drunk from what I read.

Here are some pictures of Riverview rides.


Some more info on Riverview,


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/27/2015 02:58AM by rjmachon.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 27, 2015 01:08PM

Riverview closed because the land it occupied was worth far more in sale, than the revenue generated by continuing to operate the park

in short the park co-owners wanted to cash out. george schmidt wanted to continue operating but he was out-voted

the same exact scenario played out a few years ago with Kiddieland out on north avenue. they sold the park property because the cash offer considerably exceeded what yearly income operating the park generated, and the co-owners that favored a sell-out won over

Re: Riverview
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: April 27, 2015 02:18PM

Sharpshooters Park; and winners toasting with steins of beer.


Re: Riverview
Date: April 28, 2015 01:19PM

the story I heard of the last day of Riverview was that nobody suspected it was the last day. A normal sunny day in September at Riverview, but alas it was the last to be had. you can still see a bit of the original concrete walks if you look real hard while driving by the area which used to be Riverview

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 28, 2015 03:46PM

this hurts most, i'm sure you all will agree--

after the park closed for its final season, the owners soon met and gave their final decision it was the end of riverview, over the protest of long-time manager (and minority owner) george schmidt. with that george has said at the time he tried to re-open riverview for one additional week as a 'farewell' to all of chicago before demolition began. however he's said the employess had gone away on vacation (as they usually did once the park closed) and he was unable to regroup enough people to operate the park, although he apparently did try. that's such a crying shame--us kids would all've been able to enjoy one last Bobs ride and take a million photos, knowing it was the end.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2015 03:47PM by the_mogra.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: April 28, 2015 06:56PM

Actually in the book, "Riverview Gone, But Not Forgotten 1904-1967" shows a billboard advertising the the opening day the next year. Riverview had been scheduled to reopen for its 65th season on May 10, 1968. The license had been purchased, the sign erected; but then, Riverview Historian Wlodarczyk says, "A major stockholder died." Between problems with the estate, offers to buy the park, and other pressures, Bill Schmidt, grandson of Wilhelm Schmidt, announced that the park had been sold and would not reopen.

Six Flags Over Georgia bought the Riverview Carousel in 1971 and I thought "The Bob's" went to Texas. The distortion mirrors from Aladdin's Castle fun house are reportedly at a dance club in Palatine, Illinois, (per an article from June 2011). Some things were put into storage when Riverview closed but most stuff just trashed. One thing for sure was, that Riverview was taken down very quick.

This is from an earlier Riverview post from the Chicago Tribune,

Riverview Carousel

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2015 11:09PM by rjmachon.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 28, 2015 07:29PM

if mr george schmidt had been a little quickier or luckier we'd have enjoyed a terrific 'P.S.' riverview farewell in '67. the demolishing pictures i've seen show the Bob's coaster being wrecked

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2015 07:30PM by the_mogra.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: April 28, 2015 07:44PM

The cars (trains) were salvaged. When the park closed, the trains were, originally sold to a Sherwood Park in Rockford, IL (now gone). Similarly, Adventureland, in Addison,IL (also long gone) bought the Jet Stream, Flash, Fireball and Bobs trains. None of the coasters themselves were sold. (per Stan Barker NAPHA Archivist and Chicago amusement park historian)

One of the Schmidt Brothers tried to open a new Riverview but couldn't secure the land. I think the land was was in Calumet City. George Schmidt wasted no time in removing Riverview. He was like Mayor Daley taking out Meigs Field! LOL

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/28/2015 09:50PM by rjmachon.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 29, 2015 11:57AM

George Schmidt is to be viewed as a bona fide Riverview hero; since the late '50s he resisted pressures from the majority co-owners for earlier offers to close the park and sell-off the land at a profit. It's to his credit alone Riverview remained open into the '60s as long as it did, and the new rides and ride modifications during those years were all his doing. To the very end he wanted to keep it running

Re: Riverview
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: April 29, 2015 12:55PM

Here's the business card of Sam Gordon, who ran the concessions at Riverview. This was sent to me by a man whose mother worked for Gordon in the '30s.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/dRgpGn] [/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/dRgpGn]Sam J. Gordon's Business Card[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/people/29821940@N00/]WayOutWardell[/url], on Flickr

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2015 12:56PM by WayOutWardell.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 29, 2015 01:08PM

in the early years for Riverview there was a court settled dispute because several concession operators there were in effect operating their own concession businesses (and keeping all profits) within the park under the belief they could do so because they were co-owners. but in the end they were prohibited as such, and the matter was settled giving george schmidt full park operating control (although his was a minority ownership). The other co-owners in effect became silent partners. I don't know this matter applies to Mr. Sam J. Gordon per se

Re: Riverview
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: April 29, 2015 01:28PM

Interesting. I'm wondering if perhaps Geo. Schmidt contracted out the concessions to Gordon, then. Sam also ran concessions for circuses, amusement parks and ballrooms in Florida.

Re: Riverview
Posted by: rjmachon ()
Date: April 29, 2015 02:52PM

I found this website on Riverview from Fenger High School * Chicago, Illinois
June Class Of 1958.


Re: Riverview
Posted by: the_mogra ()
Date: April 29, 2015 03:16PM

here's a link to a video for sale about riverview "Laugh Your Troubles Away":


it's good because in addition to the usual yearly park & ride history, it gets into the ownership politics that eventually led to the closing and park land sale and mr. schmidts trials & tribulations. the matter I'd brought up about park concession dispute is discussed also

i believe when Riverview (land) was sold it wasn't just sold once but twice in a matter of a couple weeks--the price getting doubled. Involved in this fishy sale was the Arvey Corp., they of the futuristic building a few blocks due west, on kedzie ave

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2015 03:18PM by the_mogra.

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