Those of us who lived in Rogers Park or West Ridge before 1975 probably remember Hollywood Kiddieland. Hollywood Kiddieland was a small amusement park, designed for kids, on the southeast corner of Devon Avenue and McCormick Boulevard. (It was not affiliated with the Melrose Park Kiddieland which closed last year.)
Hollywood Kiddieland was hugely popular during the late ‘50s into the ‘60s. The park offered a “fire truck” home pick-up for those neighborhood kids who were attending birthday parties being held on Kiddieland’s grounds.
Kiddieland offered an ample assortment of rides for the younger set - small roller coaster, merry go round, boat ride, helicopter ride, and train ride. There were also rides which could accommodate an accompanying parent or older sibling, including a tilt-a-whirl, roller coaster, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, to name a few. RPWRHS member Glenn Sotzky remembers that most of the rides were not taken down and stored for winter; just covered up for protection from the elements.
Kiddieland was also a regular stop for teens in the area. Adjacent to the park were the popular batting cages, miniature golf, and a "bounceland”. Additionally, you could get your junk food fix over at the concession stand. If the whole deal became boring to teens, they could just walk a block over to Thillens Stadium and watch a baseball game.
How it all started—
When Buddy returned home, after serving in the Army during the Korean War, he started Hollywood Miniature Golf next to Kiddieland, and added batting cages in 1966. Also in the mid-1960s, the Klatzco family bought Novelty Golf and Games in Lincolnwood, which is still in business after 60+ years.
Retired Police Captain Louis Klatzco (1892-1956), the Commander in March 1950 of the Fillmore Police Station (3340 W. Fillmore St.—Now closed), resigned in 1951 to become part-owner of Hollywood Kiddieland and adjoining attractions.
The Klatzco family closed Hollywood Kiddieland, the batting cages, miniature golf, etc. in 1975, but continued to run Novelty Golf and Games, where Buddy Klatzco was co-owner.
In 1955, the five Acciari brothers bought Hollywood Kiddieland from the Klazcos. Their purchase included 18 rides and the refreshment stands. They added an arcade for the 1958 season. The Klazcos kept title of the land, plus the batting cages and miniature golf course. (For forty years the Acciari family also owned Roma’s pizzeria, then located on the corner of Sheffield Avenue and Webster Avenue, in the DePaul University neighborhood).
In the late sixties, ride tickets cost 20 cents each, six for a buck. Earlier on, Kiddieland offered free tickets in exchange for the cardboard caps from glass milk bottles. Mothers all over Rogers Park, West Ridge, and surrounding neighborhoods saved them over the winter. Opening day saw kids and moms arriving at the Hollywood Kiddieland ticket booth with their “pots of gold”-- large, bags bulging with milk bottle caps.
Today, Hollywood Kiddieland lives on, but, only in our memories.