Wednesday, November 9, 2016

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

Bounceland Trampoline Parks were around from the late 50s to the early 60s. One was on Devon Avenue just east of Lincoln Avenue. Many people associate this Bounceland with Hollywood Kiddieland in Chicago, but as you can see, they are different businesses.
Another was at 1525 N. First Avenue in Melrose Park. 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. Visitors paid 50 cents for a half-hour on one of the trampolines, according to Chicago Tribune archives from the early 1960s. I personally remember the one on Devon Avenue just east of Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. The leg-less trampoline that laid flat atop 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 Bounceland 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 cents to use a trampoline at Bounceland in Melrose Park for 30 minutes. He was thrown off balance by defective springs and hospitalized for one year.

Bounceland closes forever.

Compiled by 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?

  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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