Toboggans From eBaaaayyy!

Forest Preserve District toboggans sell out

For those who remember flying down the toboggan slides of Swallow Cliff in Palos Township, the Cook County Forest Preserve District offered a chance to own a piece of history, and the offer didn't last long.

The district began selling toboggans used at Swallow Cliff and the district's other four locations on eBay Thursday morning.  All 150 of the sleds were sold by 7:20 a.m. Friday.

Swallow Cliff's slides closed in 2004 and were demolished and turned into a sledding hill in 2008.

The 150 used wooden toboggans were between 6 and 12 years old, Steve Mayberry, a spokesman for the forest preserve district, said.

Len Dufkis, maintenance supervisor for the district, said the toboggans were sold "as is" -- some needing repair -- on a first come, first served basis.

And toboggans can be used on the new sledding hill in Palos Township.

"We tell people you can't use a sled on a toboggan slide, but you can toboggan down a sledding hill," Mayberry said, adding that in a race of toboggan vs.sled, the toboggan won.

The forest preserve district has posted video on YouTube so you can see what that is like.

Although there is no way to tell if a buyer's toboggan was used at Swallow Cliff, Mayberry says the chances are very good.

"Our toboggans were rotated each year," he said. "Not in a uniform way -- only in that they would all return to the central maintenance shop and go out the next season."

Dufkis believes they all would have wound up at Swallow Cliff at some point.

The sleds sold for $20 each for the general public or $10 for charitable organizations. There was no limit to the number of toboggans one buyer could get, which may explain why they went so quickly.  Perhaps someone is squirreling them away in hopes of opening a new toboggan slide.

Joyce Englebrecht, of Orland Park, was excited to hear about the toboggan sale. She and her husband, George Englebrecht, would go to the slides as teenagers, and the couple took their children to the slides in later years.

She wasn't sure if she would buy a toboggan, but she compared it to buying seats from old Comiskey Park.

"I think that's a cool thing," Englebrecht said. "It's something people grew up with. It's something people can relate to."

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