Northshore Shopping Center
Peabody, Massachusetts

This site is dedicated to the patrons, former employees and anyone else who remembers with excitement and joy this little amusement park that delighted so many people from 1958 to 1973

Salem News Photograph January 6, 2006

Memories Page

Please submit your memories on our memory form.
We will only print them with your approval.

** Please note, all memories on this page were emailed to us and are posted with the permission of the writer **

From Linda Leva:

I remember all the fun my nephew had at Kiddie Towne. I worked at Liggetts and new most or the employees from Kiddie Towne. I worked at Liggetts from 1966-1971.
Would be delighted to hear from anyone that remembers me. I just became a grandmother and would love a place like Kiddie Towne to bring my grandson. Oh the good old days.

From Alex:

As a kid growing up in this area you were pretty lucky when it came to amusement parks. You had Revere Beach, Pleasure Island, Kiddie Ranch and of course, Kiddie Towne at the North Shore Shopping Center. Reading some of these stories about Kiddie Towne bring back so many fond memories. Thanks to all that posted.

My mom and aunt would take me and my 3 brothers up there on a Wednesday when all the rides were 5 cents. We loved the place. Just think, for a dollar, you could go on 20 rides! For me, that meant going on the Bullet at least 5 times. The Bullet was a small metal car shaped like a bullet that sped around a metal track. I believe it was the fastest ride there.

Back in the 60's it wasn't unusual for parents to "drop" their kids off at Kiddie Towne and then pick them up after a couple of hours of shopping at the biggest and best shopping center in the area. At the end of our day we would alway end up at Dave Wong's China Sails for the best chinese food I can remember.

It's almost sad how kids today, including my own, can't begin to imagine the fun we used to have in those days and for very little money. We spent most of our time outdoors playing games and when we did go somewhere special, our parents didn't have to bring an American Express card or Visa to pay. Come to think of it, I believe they didn't have a credit cards!

What happened to seeing 2 good movies for 35 cents, spending 10 cents for a bottle of Coke, 15 cents for a big hot fudge sundae, or a nickle for a thrill ride at Kiddie Towne? When I mention how things used to be to my kids they say that I'm getting old. Then without hesitation my little one will ask for $25 to purchase some needed I-tunes. If there is a heaven, and I believe there is, Kiddie Towne is up there someplace........

From Ann Marie Hughes (Pennick):

SO many memories,at christmastime the live animals in the manger..the rides of course and them big tall wooden soilders...Jordan Marsh and Kreskies...thank you so much for letting me look back in time.....the good old day's......:)

From Jen Afarian:

Does anyone remember an enchanted village? My father swears he used to take us kids every year to see it. He thought it was the same one that is being resurrected in Jordan's Furniture in Avon, yet there is nothing in it's history that says so. Thanks for your thoughts!!

From Cathy Neenan:

I was born in 1960 and I had a black & white picture of me when I was about 4 yrs old taken at Kiddie Towne against a back drop that said "Happy Father's Day."  It's funny because I was supposed to stand in the middle of the picture, but stood off to the side which is great because you can see some of Kiddie Towne in the background. I'll get it from my parents house and submit it for the photo section.  This is such a great, nostalgic website that brings back such happy memories of my child hood. I miss all of the old shopping center, going to Kresgee's for lime ricky's and a hot dog, going to Stop & Shop (was it a Stop & Shop?) and getting a big pickle out of the pickle barrels, seeing "The Real Santa Claus" at Jordan Marsh, the giant toy soldiers in the parking lot at Christmas, and sitting on the hood of my dad's car when they had the Fireworks right outside Kiddie Towne on 4th of July. Anyway, thanks for this site, especially this time of year!

From Cindy Chasse:

I grew up in Marblehead,  MA, so a trip to the North Shore Shopping Center was a huge deal....especially when I knew that I might get to go on a "ride" at Kiddie Towne!!!

My younger brothers and I also loved the "giant" wooden soldiers they had on display at Christmas time, and does anyone remember the Sinclair Dinosaur display around 1965, maybe earlier?  (parking lot of shopping center).

Kiddie Towne was way beyond it's time.  It was so well done for the era.  Simple, sweet, fun and memorable.

Thanks for this terrific memory and website.

Cindy (Gebow) Chasse
Beverly Farms  MA ( Marblehead native)

From Dave P:

Wow it's so great to have found this site.  For years I've told people my memories of an amusement park inside a mall parking lot on the north shore, and nobody remembered what I was talking about.  I had almost convinced myself that I had created the memories or had a dream about this magical place.

  I grew up in Waltham and I remember going to this place a few times with my family.  It was like stepping into another world.  Thanks!

From Chris Carr:

I grew up in Beverly Mass and as a young boy I went there alot. As a kid I would go to a daytime summer camp in Essex called Camp Mitchman. Every friday they had "mystery day" we would go to amusement parks around the north shore, Canobie lake, Pleasure Island in Wakefield Mass ect... Kiddietown was so fun and so close and easy to get to. I loved the Ferris wheel and the carousel, and all the booths that you could play games at. The North Shore Shopping center "as was called back then" was really cool before they re did it. At christmas time it was awesome to see the tall wooden soldiers outside the stores. It seemed sooooooo cold in the winter if you walked down the center open air strip that separated the two side of stores the wind seemed to whip all the time if you were walking from store to store. This site is great it really brings back great memories i had as a young kid. Life seemed so simple back then. Being a kid was so fun and places like this made it even more fun.
Chris Carr

From Diane:

Anyone have old pictures they can post. I would love to see them. I have fun memories of Kiddie Towne and Kiddie Land in Saugus Ma. also.

From Doris:

I  grew up in East Boston and every now and then mom would take me to North Shore Shopping Center as it was called back then in the early 60's. I spent many happy times at Kiddie Town and I was sorry when it got taken down. I remember the Easter Bunny, a real rabbit, would be outside one of the stores, Jordan Marsh I think, at Easter time and we got to go and see him too

From  Bryan Lagos

I was born in 1966, so my memories of Kiddie Towne were from the view of a young child.  As a matter of fact, the memories were non-existant.  That is, until I awoke from a dream yesterday with a vision in my mind of a small amusement park on the grounds of the Northshore mall.  I was sure it was real, but as the day wore on, I grew more and more convinced that it was only a dream.  I called my mother today and had to ask if it had been real -- and to my amazement, she told me it was!  A rather lengthy search on the internet lead me here. The pictures are great and are helping to jog a few more distant childhood memories.  Thankyou.

Bryan Lagos
Parkland, FL

From Dennis DiGiovanni:

I have many fond memories of Kiddie Towne, but the best of all is one day my parents took me to an old favorite, Kiddie Ranch in Saugus, MA.  When we arrived, we found what was left of Kiddie Ranch being loaded up on trucks and trailers.  Of course, I started to cry to see my beloved amusement park gone.  My father quickly got back on RT.1 north and we later arrived at Kiddie Towne in the North Shore Shopping Center.  It was my first visit of many to follow for a few years to come.  It was Kiddie Ranch but even BETTER!  I rode my first Ferris Wheel there where I was terrified but loved it.  I think other than the coaster, my brother's and my favorite ride was the small "bullet's" as we used to call them.  That was the ride that looked like black bullets that went around on a up and down track at what we thought was "high speed"  Fun, Fun, Fun...  Wish I could be there all over again.

Dennis DiGiovanni, Salem, NH (formally of Wakefield, MA)

From Tom Zalewski:

Nickel Day

Throughout the time of my life at Kiddie Towne  1964 through 1968, there existed a day of excitement and trepidation…this was “Nickel Day” or Wednesday.  All rides (with the exception of a brief experimental period) were five cents; and since a large number of employees were basically lazy and let the rides go for long periods of time, this was a great deal for the public, and provided immeasurable entertainment for the employees.

In order to ensure safety and consistency of operation, Izzy (the owner) had every ride safety checked and ‘lubricated’ each Wednesday and Saturday.  The term “lubrication” is somewhat misleading.  The word ‘lubrication” almost conjures subliminal feelings of a French term having to do with something much more romantic than crawling under, over and through amusement park rides, or climbing the towers of the Ferris Wheel with a grease gun in one hand and a mouth full of cloth rages at 7 a.m.  The spectrum of lubricants and solvents used would later provide fertile ground for the creation of the EPA.

For years, Wednesday meant starting the day at 6:30 a.m. (or 7 a.m. if you were really good at your job), starting ticket sales and the rides at 9:00 a.m. and working ‘til close at 9 or 10 p.m. as well as “helping close” until 11 p.m.  This, in large part, may explain why Izzy hired young, Polish, or starving college-age employees.

Although Wednesdays were long and bordered on the brink of controlled chaos, I think most employees enjoyed the electricity generated by hordes of sugar-infused children and viewing the terror they instilled in their parents.  Precautions could, and usually were, in place to ensure the safety of the public and the employees.  Such precautions were not always obvious to the casual observed – for example, the umbrella by the Ferris Wheel was not to shield the operator from the sun as much as it was to shield the operator from “kiddies” full of hot dogs, hamburgers and cotton candy spinning around 50 feet above; there was also a first aid kit someplace in the office if needed.

One year, Wednesday fell on the Fourth of July, and the park remained open until midnight.  I can’t help but think there were a fortunate few patrons lucky enough to be riding on the Ferris wheel when the North Shore shopping center had its annual fireworks display.  From where I stood, they sounded great!

A belated “thank you” to Izzy Yodlin who hired me and a grateful “thank you” to the patrons and employees of Kiddie Towne who provided me with the experience and memories of a lifetime.  I would also like to say “thank you” to Charlene and Doug, who helped dredge up my memories of the umbrella!

Tom Zalewski

1501 Turner Street

Fairbanks, AK 99701

A memory from Johnny Wowk:

I started working at Kidde Towne after school when I was 15. Izzie Yodlin was a good man and had an eye for talent...that's why he hired me,lol. The crew were a good bunch of people to work with and eventualy I learned how to operate all the rides...Merry-Go-Round,Boats,Flying Planes,Bullet/Zipper,Whip, etc, on rare occasion the GO-Carts. But the the most important was the FERRIS WHEEL. When I learned how to operate the Ferris Wheel I felt like a big shot.... I had conguered KIDDIE TOWNE!! One of the best things about working there was playing the Pinball Machines. I swear I spent all my pay or nearly all of it on those awesome pinball machines, they were the good ones, the ten cent & 5 cent games and you could beat them, not like the ones today. We all played them and played for highest score. When we ran out of cash Douglas would come by and open up the back and give us free games....he was good like that. The Shopping Center was open then (No Roof) and when it snowed some of us would get hired by the Shopping Center to shovel and use small gas powered plows to clean snow away from the store fronts and push it into open grates in the floor to waiting dump trucks underneath the mall in the tunnel to haul away. Break times we would go to the Holiday Lanes Bowling Alley where Barnes & Nobles is now or to Peter Pan's Coffee Shop over by Tom Macan's shoes in the Shopping Center (all 3 gone now)We knew all the good places to eat at the Shopping Center like the cafe in JJ Newbury's, China Sails, Brigham's, or the hang out...Peter Pan's with the Juke Box at every table and the waitress with the short skirt and hot legs. At Christmas Time the Shopping Center would put up all kinds of decorations and Jordan Marsh had the best decorations of any store in the Center, I would walk through all 3 floors just to look. Yes Kiddie Towne brings back a lot of good memories for me in a time when things were simple and people appreciated what they had around them.

From Deb O.

Just wanted to give you a kuddos for the article on Kiddietowne! I remember that so well like it was yesterday.

My Dad whose been gone 24 years would bring me there especially on a Wednesday evening long ago '61 - '66 and it certainly is a wonderful memory.

I also remember the soldiers at Christmas time and how the center was not enclosed.

Oh how I could go on but thank you for bringing me back.

A former Kiddietowne lover!
Deb O.

From Laura Davis:

I have many fond memories of Kiddie Towne. From my mother bringing myself and my friends for a treat (even when money was tight with the GE on strike) to my bringing my younger siblings to have fun while mom was shopping. It was a win-win, we had fun and she had peace and quiet for a little while. In fact, my first kiss was there while they were riding the carousel. I wish it had still been there for my kids, and there today for the grandsons.

Laura Davis

From Ray Kohut:

How many of you former KiddieTowne employees or as we would be known today as associates can tell me what took place early Sunday mornings at KT while the rest of you were sleeping.Yes Doug you were sleeping and so was Ross.Another small trivia question for those of you that were still around in the early 70's......What caused the damage to the big Merry ? We had to replace 1 upper beam.
   Some other names that come to mind Kevin Doyle and there was someone living with Gary over in Nahant,I remember him well but I can't remember his name.I was about 17 or 18 and it was around 72/73 and there was a girl that painted all the horses on the big merry I think here name was Chris.
   I always looked forward to the spring and getting the call that we are going to start getting the park together.It was always a great feeling,it represented the start of summer,seeing friends that you might not have seen all winter and all those other things that went along with good ole KT and summertime.
    Some of the employees that were at KT in 72 73
Stu Orloff               Iam sorry that I can't remeber all of you but you know
Tom Monihan               who you are and I hope that your time at KT was as
Julie Teller              good for you as it was for those that went through
Ed veiera                 before you.I have so many memories of KT and all of
John Kohut                them are great.Yes Doug even those of you.
Rusty Stpere             
Neil white                To Izzy a very big THANK YOU!
Brian Santa Paula
Phil Wojack

From John R. Campbell:

Thanks for the link to this site and thanks for the memories.

My memories of Kiddie Towne come mostly after the move to the blacktop. I lived in Salem from 1960 to 1967 and spent hours on the little "hand-car" ride. I must have been born a train nut. The boats were on, the carousel and airplanes too, but the hand-car was MY ride. I must have put in 1000's of laps on that little track.

Was there anything that the North Shore Center didn't have? Amusment park, food, clothes, pets, toys, bakery, chapel; eat your heart out, big malls. Bring back the good old days.

John R. Campbell

From Shirley Sullivan:

Kiddie Towne was a family place for many children,as well as the employee's,who
really learned a lot from Izzy,who treated us like family.I was 15 years old working
 at kiddie town where I met many friends and formed friendships and
memories that I have not experienced anywhere else .

We were a special group of friends ,who always got along,worked together, partied,
played pinball,(some of us much better at it than others)the guys always felt they could beat the girls
and sadly for them we beat them now and then.It's too bad that today's youth isn't able
to experience the kind of fun and happy times we shared.

I wonder if Izzy had any idea the influence he had on us all. Thanks Izzy, I think I can speak
for most of us when I say we looked up to you with love.

Shirley Sullivan

From Elaine (Zalewski) Wozny:

I'm enjoying this site!!! It brings back so many memories of the best
job any teen could have - rainy days playing pinball, cold days huddled
in the office, our after hours adventures, working with a great group
of people & Izzy's words of wisdom. I feel bad for those who haven't had
the experience & the memories.
Thanks for the website.

Elaine (Zalewski) Wozny

From Mary (Parsons) Sulzer :

My cousin recently sent me an article online concerning how you were trying to get old alumni who worked at KiddieTowne at the NorthShore Shopping Center together. While I did not work there, I wanted to share with you many fond memories of time spent there.

My family lived on Buttonwood Lane, which is up behind Chandler's Ice Cream. I have no memories of the original KiddieTowne, but definitely
remember the one located next to Stop 'n Shop. I loved the little boats and other kiddie rides, but once you got to be 10 years old, nothing would do but the ferris wheel (where we were warned about rocking the cars, but did so anyway), and another ride that was like the ferris wheel, but it was orange and shaped like oval cages. And of course the whip! Nobody had weak stomachs in my crew, so we would try to make them whirl as fast as possible. I do remember being there with friends unsupervised, so it's true that it really was a different world back in 1969.

I remember reading at 14 that KiddieTowne was going to be torn down and felt very disappointed and upset as it had been the scene of many happy times as a child. We could go to Salem Willows' amusement Park, but it wasnot the same as having one close to home.

I also felt badly when the Shopping Center was enclosed in 1978. Prior to that, it was very or! iginal with it's open-air middle courtyard, especially festive when decorated with giant "Nutcracker Soldiers" at Christmastime. Then all the stores like Newberry's, Kresge's,
Liggett's Drugstore, and Jordan Marsh went out of business, and what's replaced it can't compare in style and character at all.

I live in Maynard now and only make it up to Peabody to see friends and family sporadically. But the
fond memories will always remain.

Thanks for a great article.

Mary (Parsons) Sulzer
Peabody High, Class of '77

From Betsy Murphy:
My name is Betsy and I live in Salem, MA. I'm 38 years old, born in '67, and my grandfather, Alexandre Gagnon, used to take me to Kiddie Towne on a regular basis when I was little.
I just read the article about your reunion in today's Salem Evening News, and I was inspired to write to you just because.
I have vivid memories of being at the top of the ferris wheel, looking out over the vast expanse (as it was then) of the shopping center, feeling like I was on top of the very world itself. I remember the water ride, and remember worrying that the pirhannas would get me if I put my fingers in the water (I spent the ride looking over the edge, looking for the fish!)
I remember being very upset as a six-year old to find that the park was closed and that I could no longer go there with my Pepere - instead we started spending more time at the Salem Willows playing Skeeball and riding the Tilt-a-whirl.
What a blast from the past this article was, bringing back memories of the shopping center as it was over 30 years ago, with the open air mall and the live Nativity scenes every December. I remember milking a cow there as a first-grader, winning a red ribbon for having the second most amount in my glass after learning how to milk a cow - and how scary that was, considering the cow was about 8 times my size!
Thank you for all that you did back then, and for helping bring the memories back for one of your former kiddie customers!!
Betsy Murphy

Please email your memories to Charlene Dolan
We will only print them with your approval.