The Riverview Park Bobs
The Bobs at Riverview Park was one of the highest rated wooden coasters of its time. Built by Frank Prior and Fred Church in 1924, it had an 85 foot drop, reached speeds of 50 mph and had a ton of curves and drops, reminiscent of today’s wood coasters, in spite of being built nearly 100 years ago.
|Postcard via Ultimate Rollercoaster
Before I get too into the weeds about this incredible, and sadly abandoned, coaster, we should discuss Riverview Park, located on the North Side of Chicago. It got its start in the early 20th century, when numerous tiny amusement parks began, many of which were built by railroads and interurban lines to gain traffic.
|Image: Chicago History Museum via WTTW
By the 1950's, Riverview Park billed itself as the largest amusement park in the United States with 40 major rides and attractions and a staff of more than 1,000, according to L Stop Tours.
|Image: L Stop Tours
The carousel is the only remnant of the park that remains in operation, as it was relocated to Six Flags Over Georgia, and is now considered a Historic Place. "This carousel was originally built in 1908 and is celebrating over a hundred years of delighting the world." The Bobs was demolished, but a POV video taken in the 1960's thankfully survives on YouTube.
Nonetheless, the Bobs was the signature attraction of the park, which had 7 coasters in 1967 (out of 19 to ever operate there). Despite the profitability and popularity of Riverview, it would not be long for the world.
|Map of Riverview Park
It met its end, along with Riverview Park, in 1967, despite over 1.7 million people visiting that year. The Tribune stated, "Riverview had been sold to developers for more than $6 million. Aladdin's Castle and the Pair-O-Chutes and the Tunnel of Love and the Flying Turns and the Water Bug and the Rotor and the Ghost Train and even the revered Bobs would be flattened, gone, history." Crime and juvenile delinquency at the park had become a growing problem, and rather than increase security or close earlier, the decision was made to close the park and redevelop the land.
|Image: John Owens, Chicago Tribune
Thanks as always for reading!