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History - Beginnings

A Short History of Riverview Park
The area around Western and Belmont Avenues in Chicago was settled largely by German immigrants in the late 1800s. The Der Nord Chicago Schuetzenverien, a spin-off group of the Kriegs Verein of Chicago, a group of Prussian War veterans, purchased the acreage bounded by the Chicago River and the above avenues in order to use it as a shooting range. They later changed their name to the North Chicago Sharpshooters Association. The 22 acre park was dubbed Schuetzen Park by the Germans, and Sharpshooters Park by the locals, who began asking the private club if their grounds could be rented for picnics.

Around the turn of the century, the Sharpshooters Association dissolved and two members purchased the land. They were Wilhelm (William) A. Schmidt, a baker, and his partner George Goldman. Schmidt and Goldman operated the park as a picnic ground until 1903, when Schmidt's son George returned from school in Europe. He suggested to his father that they add rides to the ground, in the style of some of the European parks he'd visited.
Wilhelm Schmidt George Goldman George Schmidt
William Johnson A local lawyer, William Johnson, and a Pittsburgh banker named Joseph McQuade(no photo available) supplied additional financing in 1904 to turn Sharpshooters Park into a full-blown amusement park. The new park was dubbed Riverview Sharpshooters Park.
During the first couple of years, the major rides were the White Flyer (a figure-8 shaped roller coaster), and the Aero-Stat, better known to Chicagoans as the Strat-O-Stat.
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