Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bounce Land Trampoline Parks in Northern Illinois. (late 1950s - early 1960s)

Bounce Land Trampoline Parks were around from the late 50s to the early 60s. The Lincoln Devon Bounce Land was at 6301 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. 
1960 Chicago Yellow Pages.
Many people associate this Bounce Land with Hollywood Kiddieland Amusement Park in Chicago, but as you can see from the map I created, they are different businesses and a few blocks away from each other.
The owner, Martin Brunderman, opened the park as Americans were swept from one fad to another: miniature golf, then hula hoops, then trampoline parks.
Apparently, several centers were opened around Chicagoland and in communities all over America. Visitors paid 50¢ for one half-hour on one of the trampolines, according to Chicago Tribune archives from the early 1960s. I personally attended the one on Devon Avenue in Chicago. The trampolines were leg-less and laid inches above ground level, over an open pit of about 3 foot deep.
Tons of fun, Right?

But then things turn sour. In November 1960, a father and daughter sued Bounce Land for $50,000 in damages, claiming that a 6-year-old girl suffered a sprained right foot when she fell from a trampoline. When her father, James Jennings, bounced on the trampoline to see what was wrong with it, he came down on steel supports, suffering a back injury that forced him to be hospitalized for six weeks, the article said.
Another story from June 1964 said an Oak Park man was granted $150,000 by a Circuit Court jury after being paralyzed from the waist down in a trampoline accident.

John L. Shea was 18 when he paid 50¢ to use a trampoline at Bounce Landin Melrose Park, Illinois, for 30 minutes. He was thrown off balance by defective springs and hospitalized for one year.

Bounce Land and the companies of trampoline parks thus closed forever.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

5 comments:

  1. That man actually suffered quadriplegia from that accident and lived much longer than expected, creating financial hardship on his family.

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  2. There was another trampoline "park" in South Holland, at the Almar Plaza, at the Cottage Grove Avenue side of the parking lot. And it was fun - as long as you did not get injured, of course. Is it true that Bill Gates had a trampoline room built in his house in Washington State?

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    Replies
    1. Almar was actually in Dolton. Trampolines were there, though.

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  3. There was a trampoline park on the south side also, where Chicago Ridge Mall is now. There was a drive in theater behind the park too. This was right on 95th street.

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  4. My uncle, Bob Schuneman, with business partner Ted Kontos, owned a Bounceland franchise in Sterling, Illinois in the 1950s. Not sure when it closed but I don't believe it made it into the 1960s. Interestingly enough, Bob's main career was insurance agent.

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