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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities.
More Info on "A Christmas Story" House
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By CR Rae
CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities. She likes to find unique, off-the-beaten-path things to do in even the biggest cities. Traveling the highways and byways, she finds the dirt on the back roads and the ins and ...
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CR Rae writes about U.S. travel, including family-friendly activities. She likes to find unique, off-the-beaten-path things to do in even the biggest cities. Traveling the highways and byways, she finds the dirt on the back roads and the ins and outs of some of the most fun and interesting places -- giving you, the traveler, those little tidbits of info to get the most from your travels.
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Courtesy of The Christmas Story House
One of the most famed Christmas movies of all time was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio, A Christmas Story. Now you can tour the house where Ralphie lived.

The popular movie is a walk down memory lane for those who grew up in the Cleveland area and even the surrounding states, The large iconic department stores of Higbee’s and Halle’s decorated the windows with holiday scenes for many years. Halle’s seventh floor was the home to the “keeper of the keys”, Mr. Jingaling. Both stores had large decorated areas with Santa.

Today the Higbee's Department store is home to the Horseshoe Casino. It has been remodeled but the iconic chandeliers and pillars remain. This is the first year that the casino has been in operation and while working on the building they found Christmas decorations from the windows. So they used them and decorated the windows...even using a leg lamp! They also used some of the famous decorations inside.

The famed movie was released in 1983 without a lot of hoop la and became one of the most popular holiday movies of all time, right up there with It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. The story is a semi-autobiographical story of author, Jean Parker Shepherd’s childhood. The star of the movie, nine year old Ralphie Parker, wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. His mother is afraid he will shoot his eye out.

Higbee’s

The well-known Higbee’s Department Store was used in three scenes for the movie. The opening scene where Ralphie is peering in the store window at the Red Ryder BB Gun, look for the there glow of the Higbee sign. The parade scene was filmed just outside Higbee’s in Cleveland’s public square at 3:00 a.m. and Higbee’s is seen during the parade just before Ralphie goes to see Santa. Also, when Ralphie and Randy visit Santa it was filmed inside Higbee’s. The store kept the Santa slide that was made especially for the movie and used it for several years after the movie’s release.

The 12 floor Higbee building was the first department store in the greater Cleveland area and is right in the heart of Cleveland’s Public Square. It opened in 1931 and closed in 2002 and the building still stands and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house as it is today after being restored.

Courtesy A Christmas Story House & Museum

The House Where Ralphie Lived

Traditionally many of us watch each year so we know Ralphie did not shoot his eye out with his Red Ryder BB gun because Start a new tradition, after watching the movie pack the family in the station wagon and visit the house where Ralphie lived.

Owner Brian Jones

Courtesy Scott Meivogel, courtesy of Positively Cleveland
Brian Jones purchased the house in 2005 on an eBay auction. He paid for it by selling leg lamps. He restored it from its more modern and re-modelled look to be just like it was in the movie; detailed right down to the shed in the backyard and the leg lamp in the window. It is now open all year for public tours.

Directly across the street there is the official, A Christmas Story museum, which displays original props, costumes and memorabilia including behind the scenes photos and a gift shop. The house was chosen for the movie as it represents the houses in the neighborhoods of Hammond, Indiana, the hometown of Shepherd. The director of the movie sent people out to 20 different cities to find the right location, one that resembled the Indiana town of the 1940’s – Cleveland was that city.

A Christmas Story House convention is held each year at late in November. Actors from the movie are on hand including those evil department store elves. The convention events include a Chinese Turkey Dinner, Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra and all, tours of the house and museum, a BB gun range in the back yard, a Ralphie look-a-like contest, screenings of the movie, Winterfest fireworks, a parade and much more. Owner of the famed home, Jones, sleeps in the house when he is in Cleveland.

Other Ralphie Stories

In the 1994 sequel to A Christmas Story, My Summer Story, the kids are on summer vacation following Ralphie’s Christmas with his Red Ryder BB Gun. A third movie about the Parker family was made for television and is called Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss.gained its popularity not so much in the theater but when it first aired in a 24 hour marathon by the cable network TNT. It then became a tradition and by popular demand it is aired each year beginning on Christmas Eve and running for 24 hours TBS with over 40 million people watching.

A Christmas Story

Watch the movie for the first time or watch it again, then visit the restored house detailed to “its” movie days, it will be like winning a major award.



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