Kiddytown Amusement Park, Norridge, IL. (1953-1964)
Kiddytown was located at the north side of the Harlem Irving Shopping Center, 4250 N. Harlem (at Cullom Avenue) in Norridge, IL., and opened in the summer of 1953. Some of the rides were the Tilt-a-Whirl, Herschell Merry-Go-Round, Philadelphia Toboggan Little Dipper (opened in 1956), Mangels Whip and, Boats and Sky Fighter, Allen Herschell Kiddie Tanks, Eyerly Midge-O-Racer, Handcar, the Whip, Autos, Tractors, Ferris Wheel, Miniature Train twin Diesel kiddie train. Pony rides were also available at the 5-acre park.
The kiddie train had a 150-foot curved tunnel, bridge and elaborate depot for the 2,000-foot miniature railroad. The Ferris Wheel was “kiddie sized” with the riders locked into cages for the duration of the ride. The Handcars were self-propelled cars on little train tracks; a rider would sit on the car with their leg stretched forwards and their hands paddling a bicycle peddle-like device.
On the weekends, sometimes a small red fire engine with “Kiddytown” written on its side would sound its loud siren telling all the children in the neighborhood that some lucky kid is having a birthday party and they’re all going to Kiddytown. Their first ride, of course, would be in the fire truck. Each year in September the organization of the Bakers Club of Chicago would rent the whole park and treat as many as 500 orphaned children to a day at the park. Besides the rides and hotdogs, the children would receive specially baked cakes and cookies. Sometime in the early 1960’s, Kiddytown closed down and sold all the rides. It was replaced by Unity Saving Bank and a parking lot.