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 in Chicago, Illinois. 
Many people associate this Bounce Land with Hollywood Kiddieland Amusement Park in Chicago. Still, as you can see from the map I created, they are different businesses a few blocks from each other.

Martin Brunderman opened the park as Americans were swept from one fad to another: miniature golf, hula hoops, and trampoline parks.
Several centers were opened around the Chicago area and in communities around America. Visitors paid 50¢ for one half-hour on one of the trampolines, according to Chicago Tribune archives from the early 1960s.

1960 Chicago Yellow Pages.

I personally frequently went to the one on Lincoln Avenue. The trampolines were leg-less and laid inches above ground level, over an open pit about 3 feet 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. The article said that 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.
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 Land in Melrose Park, Illinois, for 30 minutes. He was thrown off balance by defective springs and hospitalized for one year.

Bounce Land and other trampoline park 
companies closed.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


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

  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?

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

    2. The trampolines at Almar Plaza were in Dolton Illinois, not South Holland.

  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.

    1. There were no trampolines there. There were gokarts and a big slide. The drive-in was the Starlite theater. There were trampolines at 87th and Harlem kitty corner from Southfield Plaza but they didn't last long. I don't think they were even there a year.

  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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