@TuesdayPause: #TakeTime post by Kristin.
Yes, the holiday season has undoubtedly come to a close. At this point there is no denying it. If your decorations are still up as mine are, you know they must come down very soon. Some will welcome the wrapping up and putting away of the holidays; while for others, it may usher in the post-holiday blues.
This post is for those who delay the day that Christmas is boxed up and stored away in that dark corner of the basement or attic.*
If you live near Cleveland, or plan to visit the city, you can immerse yourself in Christmas trappings all year long.
Head to A Christmas Story House and Museum, located on Cleveland Street in the West Side’s Tremont area. It’s a year-round destination for lovers of the 1983 kitschy holiday film of the same name.
This old Victorian house and the street on which it sits were used in filming the exterior scenes from young Ralphie Parker’s holiday story. The unassuming, yellow dwelling was chosen due to its proximity to Cleveland’s Public Square and Higbees Department Store.
Watch closely the parade scene in A Christmas Story, and you might recognize Public Square. But, then again, you might not.
The once well-known Higbees sign captured in the movie has long since come down. Plus, as reported in a broadcast by News 5 Cleveland (dated January 19, 1983), the film directors swapped out the contemporary holiday decorations, cars, and street utilities for those reminiscent of the 1940s, in which the classic holiday film was set.
It’s evident in the 2 ½-minute News 5 Cleveland broadcast clip (which I encourage you to view) that many Clevelanders were quite excited and proud to have their hometown chosen, even though they were informed that it would only be identified as a midwestern city. (This, of course, is not surprising, as the screenplay was actually set in a fictional town called Hohman, Indiana.)
Whether or not viewers are able to “spot Cleveland” from the movie’s street scenes, a similar spark of recognition can no longer be drawn from the scenes filmed inside the old Higbees Department Store. This is because the once historic Higbees is gone, just like its sign.
Founded in 1860, the Public Square department store operated under the Higbee name for 132 years.
One hundred and thirty-two years!
It was then rebranded as Dillard’s (1992–2002). Currently, it is home to Jack Casino.
For well over a century, Higbee’s graced the southeast side of Cleveland’s Public Square. That’s a pretty impressive run, if you ask me.
I’m sad that as a relative newcomer to northeast Ohio, I never had the opportunity to window shop at Higbees, for which it was a well-known and popular destination. There is something particularly nostalgic about department stores all dressed up for the holidays, piping out Christmas carols, and bustling with holiday shoppers.
I stumbled across another video clip, “Remembering Classic Christmases at Higbee’s in downtown Cleveland” (Cleveland.com). It offers a brief peak into a time gone by. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it as I did… it’s a mere 2-minute investment in time.
Oooh my! It just struck me. Perhaps I am in that group I mentioned at the start of this post—the one suffering, just slightly, from post-holiday blues.
Though I’m glad I’ve paused my day to #TakeTime to introduce A Christmas Story House, and to enjoy and share the YouTube clips of Cleveland holidays past, the time has come for me to stop dilly-dallying—all this reflection on the 1940s is slipping into my lexicon.
I must put down my proverbial pen and head to the basement to collect the boxes, so that I can begin packing away the tinsel and trees and ornaments.
As I have not yet shared with you all there is to know about A Christmas Story House and Museum, I’ll have to write another post (of the #GoDiscover nature) down the road a piece. But it’s ok, I’ve enjoyed being diverted by the Cleveland 5 News broadcast and Cleveland.com clip I stumbled upon while researching. I hope you have too! I’d love to hear from you and know if you give it a thumbs up or down.
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Things to Know Before You Go:
Located at: 3159 W. 11th Street, Cleveland, Oh 44109
Hours: 7 days/week 10am–5pm
Parking: Free parking is available in the lot beyond the Gift Shop. You do not need to pay for parking. You will find enterprising locals directing you into their private yards for a fee. Street parking is also available for free.
Special Note: A Christmas Story House is available for overnight stays.