Old Chicago


Old Chicago
Bolingbrook, Illinois
Under Construction


Old Chicago Mall & Amusement Park Under Construction, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Here's Robert Brindle, the man behind Old Chicago showing off some of the plans and artist renditions for Old Chicago.

Robert Brindle was a real estate developer from California who built shopping centers.  On one trip to Knott's Berry Farm he thought that it'd be great to be able to have an amusement park where the temperature was perfect year round and it would never rain or snow.  He decided to mix an indoor amusement park with a shopping mall and the concept for Old Chicago was born.

Old Chicago Mall & Amusement Park Under Construction, Bolingbrook, Illinois


The Chicago area was decided upon for the mall and enclosed amusement park concept due to it's cold winters and that it was a major market without a major amusement park since Riverview Park closed back in the 1960's.

This is an artists rendition of the Old Chicago Fairgrounds, which is what Old Chicago's amusement park was called and themed after.  Most of the park turned out pretty much like it looks on paper but the mountain in the middle that both the Chicago Log Race (Log Flume) and Chicago Loop go through did not make the cut.

Old Chicago Mall & Amusement Park Under Construction, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Getting Old Chicago open was nothing short of a massive effort as Chicago's legendary cold winters were even worse during construction leading the project to go way over budget, a fact that would ultimately lead to it's downfall.

Old Chicago, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Looking at this aerial shot of Old Chicago some thirty years later it looks smaller than it was.  To me the reason it looks smaller is that we're now used to today's compact cars and in our mind scale the building according to that size.  But we probably need to scale it up ten or fifteen percent because that was 1975 when gas was cheep and cars were not just big but really big.

Old Chicago Amusement Park and Shopping Center

This isn't the best photo but it shows the whole property from the rear.  You have Old Chicago in the center with parking in front and on the sides.  The highway is Route 53 and across it is what was the Old Chicago Town Shopping Center which featured a K-Mart and a few other stores. 

Old Chicago, Bolingbrook, Illinois


Here's the cover of one of the 15,000 invitations that was sent out for Old Chicago's grand opening on June 26, 1975.

Old Chicago, Bolingbrook, Illinois

It would have been fun to have been one of those invited to be the first to visit Old Chicago.  Even though I was not one of those I remember the magic and grandeur of my first visit.  It really was something special.

Old Chicago Amusement Park & Shopping Center

I remember the lights from Old Chicago's Grand Opening.  I was three at the time and we lived just a town over in Romeoville.  We all hopped in the car and fought our way through traffic to get a look at the area's newest attraction like everyone else in the surrounding area.

Old Chicago, Bolingbrook, Illinois

Old Chicago's Mayor Charlie Brindle was out with all of Old Chicago's costumed characters including the Chicago Cub on the right for Old Chicago's Grand Opening.

Old Chicago sure started out big but like it's main attraction the Chicago Loop it was one rollercoaster ride after that.



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Copyright 1999 - 2017

Paul B. Drabek