On a warm summer night my Father, Fred Fleig, would drive me to the Milk Pail on Devon for our weekly gallon of milk from Blanche. With a twinkle in his eye, he would say, “Would you like to stop at Kiddieland?”
We all thank the Klatsco and the Acciari families for Hollywood Kiddeland, first opened about 1948. It was a fun and safe place on Chicago’s far north side, at 6301 McCormick Blvd,. (the Southeast corner of Devon and McCormick) and just across the street from Thillen’s Stadium. Lincoln Village Shopping center was just to the south. The park was a small, but memorable assortment of rides, ponies, refreshments, an arcade and the train.
And if you were a kid having a birthday or bar mitzvah party, a bright red firetruck came to your house to pick up your young guests. In the early years it was a Crosley “Little Chief” made by the Fly and Harwood Company, a Willy’s Jeep, and later two customized Volkswagen buses.
Once you walked through the iconic entrance, you had many great choices.
Let’s start at the railroad station with the electric sign “Ride the Hiawatha”. Climb aboard the train led by EMD F7 Diesel locomotive replica built by the National Amusement Devices Co,. The train took it’s young riders on a full circle of the park, beginning with the long straight-away south along McCormick past the Shopper’s World parking lot., then east past near the Wieboldt’s sign above Lincoln Village, then returning to the station north paralleling the canal. .
Then we had real tough choices. There is the Caterpillar with it bulging eyes, the flying helicopters, a roller coaster (not quite the Bobs), and the Whip. There were boats in real water, the “do it yourself” railroad hand car ride, and the streetcar. For a bigger ride, there the ferris wheel where we sat in little cages. There were the classics like the merry go round and bumper cars.
Take a break and hit up the concession stand or “foodhouse” for a bag of popcorn, a hot dog, or a grape Sno- cone.
Run, don’t walk to the pony rides, the Electric Roadway, or the Swinging Gyms. Maybe a ride on the miniature bus. By 1955 there were 18 rides and the refreshment stands. By 1958, there was the Arcade and the batting cages. Let’s take one last trip on the train, and it was time to go home, happy and tired.
I kindly acknowledge pictures previously posed by Frances Archer, Skip Feats, and others. There is a great facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/68057774298/
We kids, now a tad or so older, thank Louis and Rose Klasco, who passed away in 1956 and are now resting in Rosehill Cemetery. His son Edward (Buddy) died 2000 and is in St. Adalbert’s cemetery on Milwaukee Avenue. Lido Acciari, (1917-2007) the former owner of Roma’s Pizza at Sheffield and Webster, rests in All Saints on River Road.
Thanks to all you and your many employees for many great summers!