Old Chicago


Old Chicago
Bolingbrook, Illinois
Reader Contributions
Page Two

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

Here's Old Chicago's legendary dome under construction.  Back then Old Chicago was surrounded by mostly farmland so you could see the dome for miles and miles along Interstate 55.   I remember driving by Old Chicago often during construction and the enormity of the place was awe inspiring to someone who was 3-4 at the time.

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

These photos were sent to me by Bryan S. and they are really some of the most amazing Old Chicago photos that I have seen.  This is a shot from the edge of the dome showing the amusement park section of Old Chicago under construction.  The circular ramp to the right was the main entrance to the park which sat a story below the shopping center.

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

Here's a closer view of the amusement park under construction in 1975.  The big marquee attraction was the Chicago Loop and as you can see here about half the ride is complete with a bunch of track sitting around ready to be welded into place.   The Chicago Loop was a "Corkscrew" type coaster by Arrow Dynamics.  This design was a copy of the prototype Corkscrew that Arrow built for Knott's Berry Farm earlier that year.  The Chicago Loop was the first looping coaster in the Midwest and the third modern looping coaster in existence.  

To the right of the Chicago Loop sits a Trabant and a Ferris Wheel all set up and ready for Old Chicago's opening. 

Also the openings in the wall by them are where the windows for the Old Chicago Beer Garden Restaurant were.  I always loved going out to eat there because we'd grab a window seat and I'd get lost watching all the rides while I ate. 

What's interesting to me in this picture besides the coaster is that at this point in the construction only half the floor was paved.  A big problem with Old Chicago was they they paved the floor, had concrete walls and a metal roof so the sounds of all the rides became quite a problem and really took away from the experience.  I wonder if they'd have had less of a problem with sound if they'd done something besides build a park in a concrete box. Maybe if they'd built the park with plants and landscaping like they have at the Mall of America it would have turned out better in the end.

The Round Up ride at Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

Another photo that Brian sent me was this shot of Old Chicago's Super Round Up.  These rides use centrifugal force to hold you standing in position. 

In 1978 there was a death on this ride at Old Chicago.  A man named Francisco Nejera un hooked the chain that goes across a riders chest and tried to move from his rider position to another and ended up being thrown from the ride.

 

Over the years I have had countless emails about Old Chicago from people who have fond memories of the park. A few of these have wanted to contribute to my Old Chicago section, not just with their memories, but with photos and memorabilia from the park.

  We have our first Old Chicago fan art. Timmothy Cumings sent me the following song about Old Chicago. Click on the link below to download a zipped up MP3 of Old Chicago Drive.

Old Chicago Drive

Copyright 2003 Timothy Cummings Music  

 

I was sent a DVD of some old home movies of Old Chicago. Click here to see Old Chicago in living color and motion.

 

A Card from the Old Chicago Beer Garden

Vince Smith sent me this card for Old Chicago's Beer Garden.  

An Old Time Photograph From Old Chicago, Bollingbrook, IL

Dave Moorehead sent me this portrait of him and his sister Liz that was taken in Old Chicago's Old Time Portrait Studio.  Since portraits like this were pretty popular back in the 1970's I'm sure there are almost as many photos like this filling photo albums as there are photos of kids sitting on top of Old Chicago's famous Lions.

 A Patch From Old Chicago Amusement Park & Shopping Center, Bolingbrook, IL

The first email I received from someone wanting to contribute to the site was from a gentleman who worked at Old Chicago as a security guard. He sent me this cool Old Chicago patch.

A Security Guard Patch From Old Chicago Amusement Park & Shopping Center, Bolingbrook, IL

What was really cool was that he also sent me his Old Chicago security patch which is something just anyone couldn't get their hands on.

  

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Copyright 1999 - 2017

Paul B. Drabek