Former Site of Riverview Amusement Park

Parks and Recreation

In the late 1800s, the development of interurban railroads allowed working-class Chicagoans in the crowded neighborhoods to travel out to the city's edges for recreation. A number of picnic grounds developed for a diverse public. In 1879, a group of Prussian War veterans bought this twenty-two acre site, dubbed it Sharpshooters Park, and used the land for a rifle range and picnic grove. In 1904, a beer garden opened in the newly renamed Riverview Park, and in the succeeding years the park became one of the most popular recreation attractions in the city, boasting performance spaces, rides, and concessions. The park closed in 1967, and was replaced by an industrial park and the campus of DeVry Institute of Technology. In the accompanying photo (Chicago History Museum, ICHi-16820), we see an aerial view of a 1925 outing for the employees of Chicago's massive Crane Manufacturing Company. According to historian Ann Durkin Keating, Riverview sponsored "special days for religious, ethnic, and work groups, which continued to encourage a segregated use of this semipublic space." See: Keating, Chicagoland (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Labor Trail

Labor Trail

The Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies (CCWCS) is proud to present the Interactive Labor Trail, made possible by a generous grant from the Illinois Humanities Council. This on-line history resource builds on “The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle,” a map of 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago and Illinois. The Labor Trail is the product of a joint effort to showcase the many generations of dramatic struggles and working-class life in the Chicago area's rich and turbulent past. The Trail's neighborhood tours invite you to get acquainted with the events, places, and people -- often unsung -- who have made the city what it is today. In addition, the statewide map is just a starting point for further exploration of Illinois' labor heritage. This Interactive Labor Trail expands the number of locations and provides a greater depth of information, while giving map users the chance to add their knowledge of locations and events in the Chicago area’s working-class history.

We invite all individuals, groups, and institutions interested in the labor and working-class history of Chicago, Cook County, the Calumet Region, and Illinois to contribute to the map. Users can add new sites, edit or build upon existing entries with additional text, photographs, primary sources, audio and video files, as well as links to related websites.

Easy-to-use instructions for adding to the on-line version of the map are available at

More information on the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies is available at:

The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle

Project Director:
Leon Fink, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Advisors:
Tobias Higbie, Newberry Library
Lisa Oppenheim, Chicago Metro History Education Center
Liesl Miller Orenic, Dominican University

Administrative Director:
Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Assistants:
Aaron Max Berkowitz, University of Illinois at Chicago; John H. Flores, University of Illinois at Chicago; Erik Gellman, Northwestern University; Dan Harper, University of Illinois at Chicago; Emily LaBarbera-Twarog, University of Illinois at Chicago

Web Design:
William Atwood and Melissa Palmer