Kiddieland rides sold in auction

November 25, 2009 4:41:33 AM PST
Since 1929 moms and dads have been taking their kids to Kiddieland in Melrose Park. It's the place where millions of youngsters got their first roller coaster ride or their first Tilt-A-Whirl. Now Kiddleland has closed its gates and today all those memories went up for auction. The crowds came to Kiddieland Tuesday for one last time. They came to see their favorite old rides from childhood. But they weren't here to get their tummies turned upside down -- they were here to buy a bit of the past.

Everything in the park went on the auction block such as rides, popcorn machines and many things that made summer just a little bit better. It's been family-owned since 1929. When the park closed for the last time in late September it was thought that everything had been sold, but that deal fell through. Now the Kiddieland owners have to say goodbye with an auction.

"Thirty-three years for us as owner operators," said Tom Norini, co-owner of Kiddieland. But my wife ... her brother it's been their whole life. It's hard."

The park was opened 80 years ago by Arthur Fritz who started small and then added on year after year. His favorite was the carousel, and it's the same for his grandson Ron Rynes, Jr.

"This was my backyard. I grew up here. I got to ride these when I was very, very young," Rynes said.

The price was right for those with cash. Rides such as the polyp or lobster went for $10,000, the Ferris wheel for $11,000, and a kiddie car carousel sold for $30,000 to an Atlanta man.

Jeff Kimble, who bought the kiddie car carousel, said he hasn't decided what to do with it yet.

"I'm going to keep it for my collection and put it up and use it," Kimble said.

The star of the auction, of course, was the wooden horse carousel. It sold for $365,000.

"It's sad that it had to come to auction. But ... umm ... I'm hoping that the equipment and the items will find new homes," said Cathy Rynes Norini, granddaughter of Tom Norini. "Good homes."

The carousel has found a good home. The new owner says it will stay in the area.


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