Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fairyland [Amusement] Park at Harlem Avenue and 40th Street in Lyons, Illinois. (1938-1977)

Fairyland Park opened in 1938 at Harlem Avenue and 40th Street in Lyons, Illinois. The site was a known "gypsy camp" for almost two decades before Fairyland Park.

The proprietors of Fairyland Park, Richard and Helen Miller Sr., began their association with the business Miller Amusements of La Grange, Illinois, a traveling carnival operated by Richard's brother Charles. Initially, the park was mostly a stationary version of the country fair type carnival rides with an eleven-car Ferris Wheel, a pint-size steam train that chugged around the grounds, a Tilt-A-Whirl, Bumper Cars, a Roller Coaster, a Merry-Go-Round, Hand-Crank Cars, Chair-O-Plane, Model Race Track, Pony Rides and various games among its twenty or so attractions.
This is an ad for Bowman Dairy Company for customers to save 4 Bowman bottle caps or carton tops, which entitles you to a 4-ride ticket for 25¢, except Sundays and holidays at the following parks; Fun Fair in Skokie; Kiddytown 95th & Stony Island, Chicago; Fairyland in Lyons; Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago; Kiddytown, Harlem and Irving Park Road, Chicago; and Sauzer’s Kiddyland in Dyer, Indiana. —Chicago Tribune May 15, 1956.

By 1955, the park had evolved into a five-acre complex with most smaller attractions housed in a large, heated building. Another transition occurred when Richard Miller died in 1965 and one of his sons, Alfred, took over management with his wife, Georgia Miller.
"Truly fascinating for kiddies, delightful for parents," a promotional pamphlet claims, "Fairyland Park is sure to please you no matter what your age." The park featured a "choice selection of the most popular rides and attractions for a thrill a second. Ideally located among shady trees," the pamphlet added, "Fairyland's picnic grove is the perfect spot for any outing."
The park remained operational until 1977. But before it closed, almost 3 million customers had passed through its gates, 73,000 in the last season. Rescued from Fairyland Park were various components of the vintage Merry-Go-Round, including hand-carved horses, originally acquired from the sale of equipment after the closure of the White City Amusement Park

Records show Georgia Miller died in 2004.

Fairyland Park 1974

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. Many fond memories! Loved the Carousel with the Parker horses. I remember the pony rides. And in the early 50's, popcorn was served in colorful translucent cones - it was all very special!

  2. Russell W. [LaGrange resident 1949~1958; Ogden Elementary]
    Comments apparently has no provision for addition photos; have available me and older siblings enjoying the hand-crank cars, a "boat-ride" essentially a merry-go-round arms with boats in a circular tank, and even riding in the back of a stretched Crosley "fire engine" with one common rope leading to a tell on cab roof was fun. DID also find and pub elder sister at age 5 cranking a kiddie-car on backside of Fairyland t-shirt

    1. Russell, you may send your Fairyland pictures to:

    2. I would love to see your pictures of Fairyland

  3. Loved this place as a kid, big treat to go on Saturdays with neighbors. When we became teenagers we were able to walk there and hang out.

  4. Fond memories of Fairyland. We'd look forward to our family outings to the park every summer. We were quite young and we loved the horses on the merry go round and their roller coaster was exciting fir us.

  5. Lived in Lyons, Brookfield and Cicero when I was young. Brings back memories.

  6. They had live horses there in the 1960’s. Strong animal smells, great place… calm, peacefull.


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