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Riverview Amusement Park Closed 50 Years Ago, And People Are Still Sad

By Justin Breen | March 10, 2017 5:00am | Updated on March 10, 2017 6:06am

CHICAGO — It's been 50 years since the legendary Riverview Amusement Park closed.

The park was open from 1904 to 1967, and in the home movie above, you can spot rides like Shoot the Chutes log flume, a roller coaster, the Roll-o-Plane tilt-a-whirl, the Strat-o-Stat and Pair-o-Chutes parachute drop.

"For generations, Chicagoans enjoyed Riverview from the Bobs roller coaster to the Pair-O-Chutes ride," said Peter Alter of the Chicago History Museum. "Many still lament its closing in 1967.”

According to Encyclopedia of Chicago: "Riverview, at Belmont and Western in North Center, was Chicago's largest and longest-running park. ... Riverview had the world's first suspended roller coaster (1908) and first parachute ride (1936). Most legendary, however, was the Bobs (1924), perhaps the greatest coaster ever built."

Riverview closed as many in the middle class moved to the suburbs, according to Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Millions of Chicagoans and Midwestern tourists came to the park during its decades on the North Side. A shopping center called Riverview Plaza has occupied the former 74-acre site of the amusement park since the early 1980s, alongside DeVry University and Clark Park.

Ralph Lopez, who worked at Riverview for 11 years — and, according to his website, was the last manager of the Chutes ride — sells Riverview merchandise here.

In 2011, Lopez told the Tribune: "Everyone who worked there loved the rides and working in an amusement park. We were closed on Mondays, and on our days off, we would go to other amusement parks, just because we loved the amusement park experience."