Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Old Chicago

Extinct Shopping Malls
Old Chicago shopping mall and indoor amusement park 1975-1980
Old Chicago was a combination shopping mall and indoor amusement park that existed in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, Illinois, from 1975 until 1980. It was billed as "The world's first indoor amusement park", and it was intended to draw visitors all year round, rain or shine. It opened to great fanfare and over 15,000 visitors on June 17, 1975, with an enormous building that housed major rides, such as two roller coasters and a Ferris wheel, as well as a turn-of-the-century themed shopping mall.

Designer Robert Brindle conceived of the idea behind Old Chicago after a visit to Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in Buena Park, California, and wished to put an entire park - complete with roller coaster, Ferris wheel, and log flumes - indoors so that it could be open year round. Brindle's concept featured an early 20th-century decor inside, with the mall featuring smaller local shops and boutiques rather than the traditional department stores that anchored most malls.

Old Chicago ~ Water St Market / The Wine Haus

Over two years in the making, Old Chicago was opened to the public on June 17, 1975, in a grand opening party that attracted over 10,000 invited guests, causing massive traffic jams. The Old Chicago TV commercial featured an 18-year-old Michelle Mauthe tap-dancing on top of the dome during high winds, while a cameraman filmed from inside a helicopter. 

The shopping mall was designed to resemble a turn-of-the-century street, complete with cobblestone floors and old-fashioned streetlights. It surrounded the ride area completely, following the entire perimeter of the building. At strategic points there were windows where you could stop and look out into the ride area. The mall had specialty shops, snack bars and a handful of restaurants.  -Wikipedia

Old Chicago ~ Chicago Loop roller coaster

Old Chicago shopping mall and Columbian House restaurant.
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