Joyland Amusement Park was opened in the early 1950s by George Mallow on the Champaign County Fairgrounds, although there were ongoing legal skirmishes between the fair association and Mallow.
It later moved to a site on North U.S. 45.
In 1960 new owner Frank Stewart, who also owned the two drive-in theaters in Champaign-Urbana, announced that he had purchased Joyland from Mallow and that it would have entertainment "for every member of the family, no matter what the age may be." Instead of just a merry-go-round, train and other rides for small children, there would be a go-kart track, a driving range, a rifle range and an indoor trap shooting range, Stewart said.
Stewart sold the park two miles north of Urbana in 1961 to Mr. and Mrs. B.V. Phelps, who had operated a Joyland Park in Wichita, Kansas. In 1962 they said that hours would be 6 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. An adult-sized Ferris wheel was installed, and a boat ride was planned. Kiddie rides cost 5¢ apiece.
In 1963 a "Tilt-a-Whirl" and an Octopus ride were added to the amusements that included the kiddie train, roller coaster, merry-go-round, ferris wheels and kiddie rides.
By 1964 Phelps proposed moving much of Joyland back to Urbana, this time at Crystal Lake Park. But a few days later, the Urbana Park Board rejected the idea. Ted Brash, president of the park board, said kiddie rides are "not in character with the park."
The park added the Scrambler, Bumper Cars, a 19-hole miniature golf course, and a variety of food concessions.
Joyland Amusement Park in Urbana, Illinois, closed in 1988. The park cited declining attendance and rising costs as the reasons for the closure. The park's land was sold to a developer, and the rides were auctioned off.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.