Christmas Cleveland style

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, December 30, 2019 7:54 PM

Depends on wether there's more in the garage to restock the fridge.  Smile, Wink & Grin

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:08 PM

Maybe he'll let us know when he floats back over here.

Anyone know how many dive bars there are between here and the "Trains" magazine Forum?  

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Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, December 29, 2019 6:26 PM

I assume he means the Christmas Ale.

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, December 28, 2019 2:49 PM

What stuff Dave?  From your callsign "divebardave" I'm assuming you know your adult beverages, but which one are you talking about?  

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, December 28, 2019 2:05 PM

Tried this stuff AUFULL...cant get rid of it either.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, December 20, 2019 8:03 PM

Well they did have the "dust of the ages".  Wink

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, December 19, 2019 9:12 PM

Thanks for the train ride Becky!

Wandering into those old railroad tunnels you must have felt like you'd wandered into King Tut's tomb!  Except there were no "wonderful things."

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, December 19, 2019 8:34 PM

In between seasons at Cedar Point, I had to find winter work and in 1990, I found it at the Twigbee Shop at Tower City Center.

Tower City of course, is inside the former Cleveland Union Terminal.

It was amazing to work down there during the Christmas season.

Higbee's started the Twigbee shop as a special place where kids could go and shop on their own at Christmas, with the help of "elves".  I'm not sure when they started the tradition, but I remember (barely) my aunt taking me down there in the early 70's.  About all I remember was passing a Fanny Farmer store in the terminal "underworld", a VERY red room with a big chair in it (undoubtedly Santa's throne, although I remember it being empty) and buying a remote control airplane for my brother.  (Back then remote control planes were attached to a battery box/controller by a wire.)

By the time I worked there, the Twigbee Shop was run under lease from Higbee successor Dillard's by the Mallard Bay Gift Co.  I remember the day (day!?!  when you're 20 you can work 48 hours straight!) when we brought the merchandise from the warehouse in Rocky River down to the store.  Being an employee, I had access to the areas behind the stores that hadn't been renovated.  It was a rail lovers wonderland full of artifacts that looked something like this:

Those are construction photos from the 20's, but they remind me of what I saw.  And no, I didn't collect any artifacts.

Every day for just over a month I drove to the Brookpark Rapid Transit station and hopped on the RTA headed for downtown.

RTA trains come in from the west accross the CUT viaduct.

Here's a short video I found of the ride over the viaduct.

I found this pic that shows the escators to and from the Tower City Rapid Transit station.  The Twigbee shop would be off to the right in this view and the area with the big skylight would be off to the left with the foodcourt where I ate lunch nearby.

The Twigbee shop had a small door and over to the left was "Bruce the Spruce".

Everybody went to Higbees.

Ozzie Nelson.

Charleton Heston.

Jesse Owens.

Lucy apparently preferred Halle's.  Wink

 

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by LL675 on Thursday, December 19, 2019 5:59 PM

Thank you so much for those pics of Higbee's! We always watch Ralphie every year and got to go visit The Christmas Story house a few years ago. I was born in '63, and never got to experence the big deptartment stores at Christmas time. Todays kids are certiantly missing out.

Dave

It's a TOY, A child's PLAYTHING!!! (Woody  from Toy Story)

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, December 12, 2019 6:33 PM

The Cleveland Press Christmas Parade had some amazing balloons.

Mister Touchdown.

"Space Ship - 30ft long balloon"

Look at the size of that crowd!

Okay.  Here comes the "train balloon"...

Wait....haven't I seen that face somewhere before?

Close relative?  Laugh

Not a balloon, but a good antidote to whatever that was:

I guess that's what happens when both Goodyear and Firestone are headquartered nearby.

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, December 12, 2019 5:48 PM

I gotta find a way to model that operation!  And I take back everything I ever said about how implausable Lionel and Flyer Christmas tree carrying cars look!  Big Smile

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, December 6, 2019 8:00 PM

Gorgeous!  Glorious!  I don't have the words!

It's like a "Penny Trains" Christmas layout on steroids!

They're gettin' it done in Cleveland all right!

Thanks for the photos Becky!

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, December 6, 2019 6:57 PM

The Sterling Lindner tree was big.  But another favorite memory of Clevelanders began it's 95th year today.  And for many the holiday season is not complete without a drive out to the Noble Road headquarters of General Electric's Electric Lamp Division at Nela Park.

Nela Park is located just a short distance from where New York Central's Collinwood Roundhouse, service facility and laboratory once stood.   As late as the mid 90's a few buildings shown in this pic were still standing on the property and I always looked forward to seeing them too on the way to GE.

The Nela Park campus:

Back in ye olde days, before there were a lot of cars on the roads, they let you drive through the campus.

This map was handed out to the thousands of visitors during the 1957 season.

Noble Road is on the left of the photo below and the factory where the unknown millions of tiny incandescent lamps that made Lionel and other toy trains brighter were made is on the right.

Driving through ended in 1959 when traffic often stretched for miles each evening.  From then until 2017 all the decorations have been along the large buildings fronting Noble Road.

It's still a magical sight, especially on a snowy evening.

From the 6 O'clock news:

 

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, December 2, 2019 8:24 PM

I do indeed!  And to think I went there for some smoke unit repair parts and hoping that maybe, just maybe, they'd have a restored 2035 "Blockbuster" for sale.  Hey, I've gotten a 2055 and a 681 Pennsy Turbine there.

No "Blockbuster," but I'm not complaining, considering what I did get.

PS:  I spent most of the afternoon running the new Camelback.  Good runner!  Fixed that dead smoke unit (on another engine) as well.  

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, December 2, 2019 5:51 PM

Don't you love it when that happens?  Wink

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, December 2, 2019 12:27 PM

Woo-Hoo!

Went to my sister-in-law's place for Thanksgiving, and a good time was had by all.

Nex day, brother-in-law "Big B" and myself went to make a raid at Hennings Trains in Lansdale PA.  Guess what found me?  Give up?

http://www.lionel.com/products/new-york-ontario-western-conventional-4-6-0-camelback-253-6-28755/  

I didn't know I was even looking for something like this!  That's why I say "it found me."  Isn't that always the way with the best stuff?

Used, but as new, and at a great price.  "Big B" had a good time shootin' the breeze with the N gauge boys as well. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, November 30, 2019 7:38 AM

Wow, that was one spectacular Christmas tree!  And I have to admire the superb job they did with the decorations, especially the tinsel.

I never cared much for tinsel on a Christmas tree thoug, it always falls off and shorts out the train tracks under the tree!

Although it does look kinda cool if the room lights are off when it happens!

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, November 29, 2019 7:28 PM

Possibly the biggest thing in town during the holiday season was the tree in the Sterling-Linder department store.

On Thanksgiving Day after employees had eaten dinner an army of them came from home to help set up the tree.

The tree was trucked to the store and workers had to unbolt the doors to get it inside.

This 73 footer became one of them.

Is it just me, or does that truck look WAY too small?

Ummmm....it overhangs just a bit!  Tongue Tied

The photos above of cutting down the tree are undated but may have been of the final tree of 1967.

This one from 1954 had 2,400 ornaments, 1,200 pounds of tinsel and was 54 feet tall.

There weren't any lights on these trees as that would have been a serious fire risk.

But the ornaments on them were all hand-blown glass made in Germany and many were the size of bowling balls.

Couldn't find any pics of toy trains here but this one at least shows where the toys were.

At Christmas time kids could ride a small carousel there.

After talking with Santa, although probably not this particular Clevelander...

...you could visit with Francis the Talking Mule!

I couldn't find any pictures of what that looked like, but one description describes him as a "huge stuffed animal" and references his "flapping jaw" and "eyes, which rolled about in his head".

Alas, like many things and many great traditions Sterling-Linder closed and the store was razed before I was born.

Pretty amazing space.

Amazing loss.  Amazing tradition.

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Thursday, November 28, 2019 2:51 PM

Wow !

Love those vintage pictures ! The days when train displays in department store windows were common, and part of the holidays. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving !

Paul

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Posted by Waynestrains on Thursday, November 28, 2019 9:44 AM
You are correct about Jean Sheperd. I was a big fan of his when he was on WOR New York radio. He told so many stories about his home town, especially during his Sat. nite live show from the Lamplighter in the village. Thought maybe you would remember. Wayne
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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 6:58 PM

Compare the photo above to the movie version:

Rumor has it Cleveland, and Higbee's in particular, were chosen as locations for 2 reasons.

#1, Cleveland's neighborhoods near the steel mills and downtown hadn't changed much by 1980.

#2 Higbee's was the only store the film makers contacted that would allow them to film at night on their actual sales floor.

You can ride the slide by the way:

https://castlenoel.com/exhibits/

Some vintage pics of Higbee's:

Higbee's had the Silver Grille restaurant where meals were served to kids on tiny wood stoves:

Can't find a pic of their toy department to save my life though.

The Higbee building today is a casino.

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 2:30 PM

If I remember correctly, Hammond was Jean Shepherds home town, and the inspiration for the fictional "Hohman, Indiana" in his "In God We Trust..." book.

This is one of the few instances where I can't say the book is better than the movie, or vice versa.  They have their differences, but both complement each other perfectly.  

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Posted by phrankenstign on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 12:04 PM

I didn't know Higbee's was a real store.

I grew up in East Chicago, Indiana.  Occasionally, my dad used to take us shopping in the neighboring city of Hammond, Indiana.  Goldblatt's, a 4-story department store owned and run by the Goldblatt Brothers, was located there.  It was the biggest store in Hammond's downtown area.  The store occupied part of the north side (on Sibley Blvd.), the whole east side (on Hohman Ave.), and part of the south side (on Rimbach Ave.) of a city block there.  It showcased displays in the windows on those sides throughout the year.  Right after Thanksgiving Day, the store would unveil their Christmas displays which inevitably featured Lionel trains and other colorful and electric animated exhibits.  I'd heard Jean Shepherd, the author of the book "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" that the movie "A Christmas Story" was based on, had based the Higbee's Christmas window display on Goldblatt's showcases.  I thought Jean Shepherd had just made up the name Higbee's to avoid having to pay for permission to use the Goldblatt's name.

 

I found this site containing many pics of the 1960s Hammond downtown area during the 60s when I used to shop there.  It includes pics of Goldblatt's about 1/2 way down the page.

Here is another part of the same site with pics from Jean Shepherd's setting of the 1940s Hammond downtown area.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 25, 2019 6:52 PM

Oh wow.  Christmas is comin' all right!

Which means we here at the Fortress Flintlock have some thinking to do.  Do we go for a new artificial tree to replace the PITA one we threw out last year, do we go for a live tree, or just go with the fiber-optic "Robo-Tree" that goes on the dining room table with the N gauge "Maine Potato Express" under it?

Decisions, decisions...

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, November 25, 2019 6:24 PM

Teaser #2:

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, November 21, 2019 8:00 PM

I like to poke through local history archives at this time of year.  Here are a few fun pics I found in the Cleveland Memory Project Cleveland State University collection.

Train ride at Parmatown Mall 1979.  The mall was torn down in recent years and restructured into separated stores.

Higbee's indoor train ride:

"Chesapeake and Ohio Railway's 'Can-Do Special', a full-size replica of a 490 engine cab. Throttle starts activator under seat and moves along C&O right-of-way screen outside window make for perfect illusion of a train ride. Besides the youngsters blow a real train whistle and ring the locamotive's bell."--photo verso.

The 2 above photos are dated 1948.  Higbee's of course was the department store attached to the Cleveland Union Terminal owned by the VanSweringen brothers who in turn owned the C&O.

This has always been one of my favorites.  I wonder if that little guy got a train for Christmas?

Higbee's 1934.  The top 3 stores were Halle's, Higbees and The May Co.

Higbee's of course was made even more famous by a little 1983 film:

Ralphie's obsession!  Big Smile

Public Square 1949 with real streetcars.

Halle's had an attraction all their own:

This jolly fellow in green is Mr. Jingeling, Santa's "Keeper of the Keys".

I'd like to add one of those "Wish Books" to my collection!

That's just a commercial but he had a short holiday segment on the "Captain Penny" cartoon show during the season.

Cartoons, Stooges and Our Gang, a well balanced show!  Big Smile

This isn't Cleveland, Ohio, but it came up when I did a Google search of "Cleveland Christmas Windows" and is pretty neat.

It's on the Tennessee Valley Authority's website so I guess it's Cleveland, Tennessee.  https://www.tva.gov/About-TVA/Our-History/heritage/Merry-and-Bright

Ever wonder about that Lionel Reefer?

In Cleveland the U.S. rights to the formula were first put to use in the old Peerless Auto factory in 1933:

By Martin Linsey - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID hhh.oh1857.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4118898

One of these days I need to add one of those cars to my collection.

One more item.  Is this the hottest GG1 in the world?

Radium Limited, only special train of its type, today began handling “hot cargo” in the radiation laboratory at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Otto Glasser, famed Clinic medical physicist, installed the toy train to protect technicians handling radium compounds needed for treatment of cancer patients and for research work. The model equipment operating over a 21-foot right-of-way is identical to that sold for home railroads through-out the nation. It has been trimmed, however, to only the electric locomotive and a flat car for its special job. The flat car carries a lead-lined container. The “hot cargo” is radon, a radioactive gas produced by the basic supply of radium in the Clinic laboratory. Physicist draw off the gas from the radium, seal it in tiny glass tubes, place these tubes in brass or gold containers, and then measure the strength of the radiation thrown off. Unlike long-life radium, radon gas loses half of its power in less than four days. The radon “seeds” are not very active when the gas is first sealed, but hit their peak strength four hours later. That is why Dr. Glasser introduced the miniature train operated by remote control to transfer the radon gas to the measuring unit. Up until now, Bernard Tautkins, Clinic technician, and three associates have been placing the radon gas in thick, lead-lined containers, and carrying them by hand.The miniature train carrying its own lead-lined container will further eliminate the radiation danger for the technicians.Dr. Glasser said the model train installation was only in its pioneering stage . the locomotive is a small-scale model of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GG-1 used on its electrified routs. Additional protection for workers handling all types of radioactive element may be provided later, he predicted, through automatic loading and unloading device for the flat car, and by a pneumatic tube to deliver the radon “sees “ to the hospital surgery." by Walter Lerch. -- from photo verso.+

I wonder if it's still there or has found it's way into some toxic waste dump?  Tongue Tied

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, November 18, 2019 5:30 PM

Flintlock76

"Atomic Airlines!  Flying with us is a BLAST!"

 

Laugh

By the way I went to my local Wal-Mart today and they had the Christmas Ale.  Cool, but it makes me wish those boxes really were full of 512 gondolas!  Wink

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, November 18, 2019 8:22 AM

"Atomic Airlines!  Flying with us is a BLAST!"

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Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:27 PM

Aside from fighters the only other 1:48 model I had was the Enola Gay!  Big Smile  It's still hanging over the layout table downstairs and I had considered converting it into a passenger plane just like Boeing did.  But I couldn't find anywhere big enough to land the thing!  Laugh

Trains, trains, wonderful trains.  The more you get, the more you toot!  Big Smile

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