Real Chicagoans will remember this short-lived, but fantastic Old theme park

Screen shot of Garrett's video

In the southwest suburb of Bolingbrook, Old Chicago was part-amusement park, part-mall that existed between 1975-1981.

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The building that Old Chicago was housed in tried to replicate the style of buildings from the 1893 World’s Fair, which was full of grand architectural marvels.

Although not quite as majestic as Navy Pier’s downtown location or the lakefront fairgrounds of the 1893 exposition, its unmistakable dome is something tried and true Chicagoans will never forget.

The main entrance of Old Chicago featured replicas of the famous lions greeting visitors outside the Art Institute.

Photos on Lisa’s Nostalgia Café show a haunted house, a water ride with a log race, people in costumes and many other typical amusement attractions. Even a Ferris Wheel and roller coasters.

While it was around, Old Chicago played host to a Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, and there were many radio promotions and rock concerts, including Chuck Berry, the Ramones, Gloria Gaynor, the Shirelles and more.

However, due to the lack of interesting retail and a growing interest in chain stores, attendance declined, and the theme park was forced to close.

After shuttering in 1981, Old Chicago sat vacant for five years, the surrounding parking lots strewn with weeds.

It was eventually demolished.

What could have been ideal for a city with temperamental weather and extended winters, Old Chicago may not have lasted long, but its memories will live on forever.

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