The Higbee Company, Cleveland, Ohio



After many years on East Euclid Avenue, Higbee's
bucked the nation's economic depression and opened
its magnificent store in the Terminal Tower complex
in September of 1932.

The new store's elegant, canopied entrances were a
feature of opening-day advertising.

In many ways, Higbee's crown jewel was the 10th-
floor Silver Grille.

The huge store became an icon in Cleveland, beloved
by its citizens and even became a movie star due
to its role in the 1983 film "A Christmas Story."

Generations of Clevelanders will remember stepping
into Higbee's from the bustle of Public Square, and
being greeted by the breathtaking, block long main
aisle with its array of crystal chandeliers.  Not part
of Higbee's original decor (which was more modern),
they were installed in a 1965 Raymond Loewy-de-
signed store remodel.

If you haven't seen Higbee's today,
you haven't seen Higbee's!




The Higbee Company
100 Public Square
Cleveland, OH

CHerry 1-4600




Street Floor
Cosmetics • Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Diamonds • Watches • Gloves • Small Leather Goods • Handbags • Fine Handbags • Street Floor Blouses • Tops • Scarves • Sunglasses • Neckwear • Hosiery • Slipper Bar • Street Floor Shoes • Optical • Repair Desk • The Link • Men’s Toiletries • Men’s Sportswear • Men’s Accessories • Men’s Dress Furnishings • Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Tops • Stationery • Greeting Cards

Prospect Level
Store for Men Traditional Shop • Designer Collections • New Breed • Men’s Outerwear • Signature Shop • Men’s Shoes • Men’s Better Sportswear • Young Men’s • Wines • Gourmet Shop

Second Floor
Women’s World • House and Town • Miss Clevelander Dresses • Miss Clevelander Sportswear • Stag Shop • Women’s Shoes • Millinery • Wig Boutique • Junior Coordinates • Junior Dresses • Contemporary Juniors • Junior Lingerie • Junior Shoe Gallery • Bus Stop of London • Glemby Cosmetics • Hairwork • Le Bistro

Third Floor
Intimate Apparel: Daytime Lingerie • Nighttime Lingerie • Foundations • Leisurewear • Sleepwear • Loungewear • The Maternity Shop • Millinery • Misses Coats • Pacesetter Coats • Miss Clevelander Coats • All Weather Coats • Better Shoes • Etienne Aigner Shop • Pappagallo Shop • Misses Dresses • Misses Sportswear • Casual Dresses • Pacesetter Dresses • Pacesetter Sportswear • Better Blouses • Sweater Shop • Active Sportswear • Status Sport • Sun Bar
Designer Shops Little Couture • Mulberry Shop • One Step Ahead • Sportique • Country Club Shop • Designer Sportswear • Designer Shoes • Designer Dresses • Crystal Room  • The Bride’s Shop

Fourth Floor
Health & Beauty Aids • Pet Shop • Customer Services • Fashion Fabrics • White/Elna Sewing Center • Children’s World: Children’s Shoes • Children’s Sleepwear • Children’s Accessories • Girl’s Shop • Boy’s Shop • Plum Shop • Infant’s Shop • Infant’s Furniture • World of Toys • Doll Shop

Fifth Floor
Housewares • Cook’s Kitchen • Bar Shop • Glassware • Crystal • China • Silver • Gifts • Figurine Gallery • Plant Shop • Shop of Old Things • Linens • Book Shop • Calculators • Business Machines • Cameras • Pro Shop • Sporting Goods • For Good Sports... • Perpetual Notion Shop • Home Improvement Center • Garden Shop • Luggage • Artist’s Supplies

Sixth Floor
Draperies • Bedspreads •Rugs • Decorative Pillows • Floor Coverings • Lamps • Pictures • Picture Gallery • Decorative Accessories • Gifts Never Leave Home • Clocks • Bath Shop • Domestics • Art Needlework • Beauty Salon • Pianos and Organs • (Trim-a-Home Shop)

Seventh Floor
Connoisseur Gallery • Williamsburg Craft House • Furniture • Foxglow Gallery • Early American Furniture • Sleep Center • Pewter • Appliances • Entertainment Center • Music Center • Higbee Photo Studio

Eighth Floor
Form + Function • CafĂ© on Eight • Design Center

Ninth Floor
Customer Service Desk • Executive Offices

Tenth Floor
The Silver Grille • Winter Garden Restaurant • The Pronto Room • (Twigbee Shop)




 
Westgate
Fairview Park, OH
October, 1961
172,000 sq. ft.
The Westwood Room

Severance Center
Cleveland Heights, OH
August, 1963
216,000 sq. ft.
The Hobnail Room
The Pronto Room

Midway Mall
Elyria, OH
August, 1966
162,000 sq.ft.
The Attic Restaurant
The Green Gazebo


Youngstown (McKelvey's 1882)
West Federal Street
April, 1969
The McKelvey Room
Parmatown Mall
Parma, OH
September, 1967
188,000 sq. ft.
The Zodiac Room
The Pronto Room

Great Lakes Mall
Mentor, OH
October, 1969
167,000 sq. ft.
The Lakeland Room
Pronto Room


Belden Village
Canton, OH
August, 1968
191,000 sq. ft.

Randall Park Mall
North Randall, OH
August, 1976
170,000 sq. ft.
Racing Silks Dining Room
Pronto Room

Euclid Square
Euclid, OH
March, 1977
117,000 sq. ft.
The Atrium

Beachwood Place
Beachwood, OH
August, 1978
125,000 sq. ft.
Beachwood Restaurant
Espresso Bar












96 comments:

  1. Is there a way for you to add information to each store about whether or not they still have any open branches and if not, when the last one closed?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I plan to add a brief history of each store at some point, which will give an idea when they closed. Most stores are converted to national nameplates, and definitely not the same as in their hay-day, even if the buildings still exist. As a philosophical matter, because I want the museum to celebrate the lives of these stores, I don't like to focus on their demise, just what they were like from the late '50s to the '70s.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A 50% purchase of Higbee's was made by Dillard's in 1988. The remaining 50% was purchased in 1992 and the store name plate was changed from Higbee's to Dillard's. The only remaining Cleveland store is Beachwood Place. Dillard's Downtown closed in 2001, Parmatown store was leveled in 2000 after a new store at SouthPark Mall opened in 1997. Westgate Mall was closed in 2004 and demolished not too long afterward once the new Great Northern Dillards opened in March, 2003. Randall Mall closed in 2003 after the mall was already in the process of shutting down. Midway Mall closed in 2005 since it was in close proximity to the new larger and nicer Great Northern store. The Euclid Square store is still open as a Dillard's Outlet store.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Youngstown, Ohio The Higbee Company took over G.M. McKelvey Company and operated just down the street for quite a while as Strouss direct competitor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I found an old Higbee's charge plate that belonged to my grandmother. It is small, silver on one side and on the other is handwritten. Any idea if it would be of use to anyone in a museum or collector? From Cleveland, OH.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Perhaps a collector will see this comment and contact you. I would also check with the Cleveland history museum(s)to see if they have an interest - http://www.clevelandmemory.org/SpecColl/cdl/ would be a good place to start.

    BAK

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Dillard's store at Great Lakes Mall is also still open as they have two facilities there after Dillard's took over Joseph Horne's. The former Horne's store in the mall is now Dillard's Home.

    ReplyDelete
  8. trying to locate the former buyer of womans jr apparel former Miss Pat Potras can you help

    ReplyDelete
  9. any photos of belden village store interior?

    ReplyDelete
  10. No but I do have several pictures of the Downtown store in the last days of the Silver Grille. Also some of the elevator lobby at Christmas time 1989,

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was hoping you might be able to assist me, my mother had a Mandel Brothers Hutch and some other furniture from this retailer and its been in the family for 70+ Years. Do you know who collects furniture from them? I appreciate your time and assistance. Thanks,
    Becky Evans
    Bevans770@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happily stumbled on your site while researching a porcelain doll with a Hutzler's (Baltimore I presume) tag on it; and couldn't resist reading about Higbee's & May Co in Cleveland; my childhood stomping grounds! As an elementary school kid clotheshorse and toy lover from divorced parents in the 60s, my uncle used to turn me loose in those stores with Dad's charge cards. The salesladies in Higbee's boys department used to fall all over me as I got to shop to my heart's content, and sign Dad's name! And of course every Christmas season we had to check out the store windows and visit Santa. Also have fond memories of my elderly Italian Grandma from Lakewood who called it "Hig-A-Bee's" (and Charg-A plate). She'd get on the bus in front of our house on Clifton Blvd and go downtown and rack up the bills buying new furniture, draperies, carpeting, etc! The family simply couldn't control her! Thanks for the memories! Joe Galati, c21joegalati@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Joe:
    Thank you for the enormously entertaining note. I grew up in a neighborhood here in Detroit which was Italian, Polish & German . . . What a fun mix! I can almost imagine your grandma; it seem like I should know her.

    I am happy to hear that this site bring back memories for so many people. I hope to keep adding to it as time goes on.

    I had the pleasure of visiting Higbees, Halle's and The May Co. in the late 1970s, and they were all great, individual stores, each with their own strengths. There are a number of books about Cleveland's department stores, Euclid Avenue, and Higbee's on the emarket, and I would recommend them to anyone who wants to go further.

    Thanks again for sharing your memories!

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  14. At the least, this store was immortalized in the classic film "A Christmas Story."

    They didn't even change the name for the movie, as a thank you to the store for allowing them to shoot there (and to build that big Santa slide thing).

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have an old framed silhouette picture of a girl made of fabric that is marked on the back: The Higbee Co., Public Square, Cleveland.

    Does anyone know anything about this product? How old is it?
    email me at quirk29@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Does anyone have any memories or pictures of what children could get at the Tea Room in Higbees downtown store? I remember that I could order a real kitchen cupboard, and inside were little serving pieces filled with food. There was a small glass chicken and I believe it may have had creamed chicken in it with mashed potatoes. At any rate, I would love to know if anyone remembers what came in that little cupboard, or any oher info. Thank you. Cindy from California

    ReplyDelete
  17. I worked in the Midway Mall location for a few years in the mid 70's and loved this company.
    My former husband and I would take trips to the "Downtown" Store as an adventure the first time as newly weds at Christmas time. I was a young farm girl from western Ohio and thought I was in heaven. He bought me my first "Holiday Dress" I didn't know girls/women bought such things. We later took our son to Santa's Shop so that he could do his Christmas shopping all by himself. It was a wonderful experience for a little 3 year old. To this day I still go back daydreaming of those wonderful trips to the Higbee Store.
    I worked at the company when they filmed the movie and the employees served as extras. They used employees from all of the branches what a wonderful way to document that beautiful store and it's glamour.
    One of my most favorite things was from the "Attic Restaurant" in the Midway location, they served a Tuna Grilled Sandwich with slice tomatoes...to this day have never found one that matches it''s warm delicious flavor.
    When I think of Cleveland I think of Higbee's first. Thank you for your sight...I found you through Google trying to see what had happened to the Higbee Company. What a wonderful place to shop. Connie

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Connie:

    Truly beautiful and meaningful memories. We should always be thankful for such experiences, so that we can tell others about them and keep these memories alive, because there just isn't anything like it anymore.

    Thank you for sharing your insight with everybody!

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  19. I worked at the Attic restaurant at Midway for a few years and was there the day we closed the doors. Some of the dishes I remember are the Glace sauce with the Glass menagerie, the Reuban, The Higbee Muffins, Rarebit sauce, Cobb salads. We had tossed salad or a fresh fruit cup served with most of the meals.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I worked at the Parmatown store from 1988 until they closed their doors in 2000, I believe. I have since moved from Ohio to New Hampshire. This morning i stopped at a body shop to have work done on my car and the guy had a Higbee's trailer in his driveway! He said he had purchased the trailer years ago and had no idea what Higbees was. Small world. The Daisy Sale was always a madhouse, and the chicken pot pie in the Zodiac room was my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Original Higbee Company receipt for a Literary Guild Book with a State of Ohio 6-cent Prepaid Sales Tax Stamp affixed is listed on eBay. See item # 111574752312. Excellent condition!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I worked at the downtown Higbee's store for 14 years, until 1991, in different facets, with my last job being manager on the first floor in ladies accessories. I also was associate editor for the News and Views magazine and interviewed many Higeeeites and execs. It was the best job I ever had. I worked with a lot of fine people. This was still in the era of the well dressed sales associate and great customer service. I miss that store!

    ReplyDelete
  23. As an avid Higbee collector--I am pleased to see that there are others that are as enthusiastic about the "Golden Age" of retail as I am....
    I have been collecting memorabilia long before Higbee's demise under the Dillard's control.
    I find it refreshing that the building is currently being restored to it's original grandeur as a casino-
    The developers plan the remodel with a "light hand" and have saved the iconic crystal chandeliers that we all remember and love....
    Dillard's allowed them to fall into disrepair under their ownership & I feared they would be destroyed as much of Halle's splendor was after their closure.
    It is unfortunate that retailing in this country has come to the likes of Macy's (Federated Dept. Stores) greed & Dillard's....
    The days of the "Buying Office" in each market are over.....now there is no excitement in shopping.....most department stores carry the same goods-
    The closest we can find in this country is New York City....where Bergdorf's & Barneys still have exclusivity on designers and lines that others don't-
    It's unfortunate-

    ReplyDelete
  24. There was a Higbee's in Putnam Connecticut, and the building is there and being used as an antique mall. The building is still charming!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Mariam:

    This would not be the same Higbee Company; the store did not have branches outside of Ohio.

    Many stores had the same names; right in this site are two Stewart's; There were many Kaufmann's, Boston Stores, etc., so the charming store you describe must have been a local company whose founder shared the same name with the namesake of the famous Cleveland department store.

    Bruce

    ReplyDelete
  26. trying to find the recipe for the attic's chicken pot pie if anyone has it or knows where to find it would love to have it thank you

    ReplyDelete
  27. I also remember the delicious children's lunches at the Silver Grille. I remember the cupboard with the creamed chicken in a milk glass hen and mashed potatoes. There were also green peas. And dessert was an ice cream something. I vaguely remember a ball of ice cream with a doll's torso stuck on it. My older sister remembers lunch in a toy stove and ice cream with a sparkler!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Was there ever some sort of bear sold or given away from Higbees? When I was young, I was born in Columbus but never went to Higbees we shopped at Lazarus, but I have this brown brea with a plastic face that my parents said was named Higbee.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes, during the Christmas season there was a Twigbee Bear campaign at The Higbee Company before it was evaporated by Dillards.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The Higbee's branch in Youngstown closed in 1982. It had operated as McKelveys until 1973, having been purchased by Higbee's in the late 1960's. It had a beautiful arcade of display windows from the 1930's, polished black granite, revolving doors and all of the trappings of a downtown store. Some of this art deco granite trim was removed and has been re-used for the renovation of the box office at the Deyor Performing Arts Center down the street from the Higbee's location. (Former Warner Theater) Reminds me of the old display windows of the McKelvey's/Higbees Store.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have a shipping box with "The Higebee Company" name and address on it: Public Square, Cleveland 13, Ohio.

    Is it something your museum would like to have?

    ReplyDelete
  32. The greatest thrill of my life was going into Higbee's (prior to the name change of Dillard's, and obviously prior to the closing)and seeing the store at Christmas exactly as it appeared in A CHRISTMAS STORY. My mouth literally dropped. They were also smart enough to place a red Ryder BB Gun in the display window on the corner. A beautiful store, immortalized in a classic movie.

    ReplyDelete
  33. As a young child I would make the trip with my Mother and 2 sisters to see the Christmas parade on Prospect square, then go to Higbee's to see the corner window full of this seasons new toys--then inside to see Santa. I have a picture taken with him when I was 5 years old. Then to the restraunt to eat.What fun the old days were in downtown.

    ReplyDelete
  34. So nice to find your site with all of this information and pictures. I just acquired a beautiful sportwear suit from the 1930s-40s that is from Higbees the label reads "sportswear by Higbees". A very unique vintage piece. I love finding out the information on where it came from. If it would help anyone to have a photo of the garment or label for reference please feel free to let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  35. does anyone know about what time period Belgium made beaded small handbags for The Higbee Company..Clevland

    ReplyDelete
  36. John Freudberg12 March, 2012 15:13

    IN 1969, I was the assistant shoe buyer for the Red Cross shoe department on the first floor. It was in Higbee's that I met and married my wife. We appeared in the employee shows produced by John Bohn and also sang in the Christmas Carole chorus on the steps right next to my department. If anyone has a photos, of the 1969-1970 Higbee employee shows, I would very much like to see them. You can contact me at aamboca@yahoo.com. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm in my 60's now, but can still remember back in the mid '50's when we went on our annual visit to see Santa and had lunch in the Silver Grille. Lunch was better than seeing Santa because of the little metal stove. (Found out in later years the stoves were cardboard) In the oven was a little chicken shaped casserole dish with (what my mom tells me was chicken a la king) a little cooking pot of peas on top the stove. And the ice cream at the end, a scoop of ice cream on a plate, with an inverted cone on it, decorated like a clown face. I recall a candle in it. Mom says all the children were ladies and gentlemen back then, no running or loud kids. Ladies wore stockings with seams and hats.

    Does anyone know where I can get a photo of one of those little stoves?? I've been looking for years. I've seen a few toy stoves on ebay that could be similar made by Wolverine or My Maid (something like that).....but not sure. Where did all those stoves go?

    I'm a long way from Cleveland now for over 50 yrs, but my memories are firmly planted in Cleveland. Any help on a pix of that luncheon stove would be appreciated.

    Cindy in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a cardboard stove in the Twigbee Shop in Tower City in downtown Cleveland.

      Delete
  38. After my training at the Joseph Horne Company in Pittsburgh, I took a job as a dress buyer at Higbees in 1972. What a wonderful place to work. There was so much energy in the merchandise department. Names I recall are Jim Vadis, Mario Nolfi, and Sue Guyer. It became a family. What a wonderful experience!

    ReplyDelete
  39. The flagship store at 100 Public Square is now the home of Ohio's first casino. Prior to that it was empty for maybe 10 years and a Dillard's before that.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you for printing the Directory of the old Higbee's Department Store. As my husband and I were exploring the new casino in the old Higbee Building today, it felt like just a short time ago that I was shopping there. I had forgotten some of the merchandise that was on certain floors, so your Directory helped jar my memory. Dan Gilbert and Staff and Owners have done a great job preserving the "feel" of Higbee's. The casino is a wonderful addition to Cleveland and enables the saving of a beautiful and historic building.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I worked several Christmases and a summer at Higbee's main store. Iremember the last remodel of the main store. When Dillard took over 10 years later, they destroyed the look of the main floor. This was one of their few attempts at operating a downtown store and a complete failure. Dillard has never done well N of the Mason-Dixon line. The Great Lakes Mall stores were left neglected and shabby until a recent remodel.

    ReplyDelete
  42. David Foley, Cleveland Ohio15 June, 2012 19:40

    I walked past the Higbee Building today and could hardly look at it. It now houses the casino. If only the new owners hadn't changed the interior. I think the casino still would have looked amazaing with the old Higbee's interior.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have a silver bracelet in the original "The Higbee CO. Jewelers" box. It has a note inside that says it was given to my Grandma in 1972. How can I find out how much it is worth?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I would love to view any other photos of Higbee's Bridal Shop in downtown Cleveland, as my Grandmother worked there from the mid 60's to the late 80's.

    ReplyDelete
  45. DO you know if anyone has any of the old dishes from the Silver Grille or a small wooden hutch they used to serve meals to children, with candles
    glass chicken with removable top?

    ReplyDelete
  46. i cant believe no ones mentioned the cardboard stoves with the kids menu on the back!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I have an old picture with The Higher Company Cleveland Picture Gallery No. 2726. I am trying to ascertain the origin and value. On the back of the picture someone has written that the picture was made by Mollie McCoy in 1898. It is a beautiful machine stitched picture of several horses and the information on the back says that it was made on silk using an old Wheeler Wilson sewing machine. Any ideas where I might research?

    ReplyDelete
  48. I worked in the credit department in the downtown Higbee's in the mid to late 70's. I will always have fond memories of this place. Some of the nicest people worked there. If anyone called for credit authorization and got me, I was the one who would say, "That's C like in Charlie." Good times!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I worked in Billing Adjustments during the same time and my mom was manager of Accounts Receivable. Did you work with Pam or Neil?

      Delete
  49. I have a 100% Silk plaid suit jacket from Austin Reed London-England expressly for The HIGBEE Company Cleveland. Iam trying to find the value of this. Is there anyone who can help me with this information.

    ReplyDelete
  50. bill white have a fiberglass eagle display that came from the midway mall higbees does anywone have picture of it hanging above door at the mall. found it hanging outside on a fence

    ReplyDelete
  51. Does anyone know what happened to the Crystal Chandeliers in the lobby of the Downtown Department store? They're not there now..

    ReplyDelete
  52. @DavidFoley It's worth pointing out that it was Dillard's who significantly altered the interior. By the time Dillard's closed, it was nearly identical to the suburban flagship in Beachwood. There were still a few original things in there but not much. The casino has actually done some construction to re-create some of the older stylings of Higbee's.

    As far as those chandeliers go, the originals are in storage. The old escalators had to go to bring it up to code.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I am looking to get a picture of the stove you got when you went to higbees at Christmas time to have lunch. We remember a pot of peas and the ice cream. Are there pictures of the events. This was a memory we had and wanted to see what we did as children. This was back in the 70's

    ReplyDelete
  54. The story about the store is interesting. The Chandelier's were they taken out when Dillard's closed the store? I am suprised they are not in use in some other building, just sitting in a warehouse! Were they auctioned off by chance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were not auctioned off. They were taken down after the visitors bureau and a local business group, COSE took over much of the first floor. They basically turned it into an office building with cubicles. This was about 4 years after the store closed. They then vacated the building to make room for the casino which took up about 3 full floors. The top floors were converted to office space decades ago. I'm not sure what condition the chandeliers are in. The casino has new ones up that replicate the old ones.

      Delete
  55. This is quite a compendium of memories and recollections. I happened to come across this site by accident trying to recall the store directory of Higbee's on Public Square. I went there countless times in the 1970's, but even then you could tell tastes and times were changing (as the market was moving towards the suburban malls and Downtown Cleveland was essentially dying). I can't tell you how many clothes I bought there. The service in the Men's Store (Prospect Level) was second to none and when you bought a suit, the tailors really took their time to make sure that it fit and looked it's best. That level of service is a lost art. In its heyday I wonder how many people worked at Higbee's Downtown. One addendum for the Fourth Floor; there was a stamp and coin counter right by the elevators; I should know because I bought hundreds (if not more) of dollars there when I was young. Trivia question: Does anybody remember the black and amber buttons on all the Otis elevators? They were activated by the heat of your finger and not by pressure...

    ReplyDelete
  56. In regards to Silver Grille tableware, I believe it is still on-site. I know the Art Deco chairs are.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I am interested in displaying any vintage Higbee/Twigbee items next season at Twigbees. Any vintage Christmas items as well. All items will remain in the ownership of the donor and returned when requested. We are attempting to bring back memories of Twigbees past. I currently have the "stove", a few ornaments, and a some various other items on loan that got rave reviews this past Christmas at Twigbees. Contact nkagy@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  58. A summer treat was getting dressed up and taking the bus downtown with my mom, aunt and cousin, to spend the day shopping at all the department stores and lunch at the Silver Grille, of course the highlight was the stove and cupboard. As teenagers, we would dress up and wear our high heels downtown; ended up riding the wooden escalators because the heel would fit into the slats and we could rest our feet. I also worked at the Severance Center store while in school in the late 60's. I worked in Girls 7-14. My husband worked stock and the loading dock. Such great memories. We dragged our adult children down to see the windows and the fabulous chandeliers on Christmas day this year, and "bored" them with our memories. We moved to Columbus in 1971, so the kids didn't get to experience the thrill of the Thanksgiving Day parade, Twigbee shop and Halle's 7th floor.

    ReplyDelete
  59. My Great Uncle was a buyer at Higbee's and we would always visit him at the Downtown store and so I remember those old Otis elevators. I think there is a video of them on YouTube.

    PS: The buttons were Otis Lexan fixtures. They are not activated by heat, but by a voltage change, although excess heat from fires can cause them to fail.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I have an old clay pitcher with Talavera stampings on the bottom. It is milky white with bue brown yellow and black design. It is 6 3/4" high with a spout and handle. Below the handle is paintedthe name of HIGBEE'S in the same blue, so it is original to the piece. Just wondering if this is something they sold at Higbee's or a promptional item. I am unable tofind any information on such a piece. Thanks in advance to anyone who knows anything about it.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I was yound when Higbees chnaged to Dillards but I remember the store well. I lived not to far from the Midway Mall store. I still have my Twigbee Bear with the price tag on the back of the tag still attached to the bear. After Dillards closed the store it was still open for a week or two to sell the store fixtures and had free range to walk around...I went in back areas and was able to see signs still markewd on the wall that said Higbees and remembered memories of going there when I was young with my mother. I also found a picture that appears from late 60s of the resturant that was on the first floor that had sunken floors that was below the sales floor...I dont remember that from when I was litte but I do have a picture of it that I found when I was walking around and the fixture sales person let me have it.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Wonderful memories here! For more great memories of Cleveland's dept. stores, get a copy of the book "Cleveland's Department Stores" by Christopher Faircloth (Arcadia Publishing). 125 pages of photographs tell the history of all our fabulous stores...Higbee's, Halle's, May Co., Sterling-Lindner-Davis, Taylor's, and Bailey's. Gave this book to my 98 year old mom for Christmas, and she took a wonderful trip down memory lane. She and I spent many a day riding the Rapid Transit from Shaker Heights to the Terminal. We never missed the Friday after Thanksgiving, when she took my brother & me to see Santa and eat at the Silver Grille. Remember the old express elevators that went directly to the 10th floor? There were human operators back then wearing uniforms and white gloves. The elevators had heavy iron gates in addition to the regular doors, and no LED lights to tell you which floor you were on! The operator would call out "6th floor; linens, bath shop, lamps..." Those were the days...where has it all gone?

    Caroline in South Carolina, but still a Clevelander at heart

    ReplyDelete
  63. I worked at Higbee's downtown from 1958 to 1963 and it was indeed a magical place. I was assistant buyer of ladies hosiery on the main floor and had an office and stockroom on the 11th floor. I got plenty of exercise back in those days. The backstage areas were truly amazing; seemed to go on forever, and I sometimes got the feeling they were haunted. There was the employee's cafeteria on the ninth floor (for employees and guests) and we would get many requests for guest passes from family and friends. The food was every bit as good as in the Silver Grill at half the price. Store president J.P. Murphy, a genial and loveable Irishman would frequently eat there as well; and he seemed to know every employee by name. Thanks for the memories! Robert

    ReplyDelete
  64. I worked at Higbees from 1974 to 1977 in the credit collection department. The people I worked with were great Connie; Mr Brady ; John K. And of course the wonderful plays in the spring that Rocco Scotti was the musical director. I miss the people Sue P, Toni P,and their Mom Virginia, Carmen, And I still hear them say George L you big dummy.I would love to hear from them. George L (versalg226@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  65. "Higbee Company Department Store", is the name of a Facebook group page. Many photos and memories are posted. Some of you folks might be interested in joining.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I'm a former employee of Higbees, both in Canton and at the Downtown store. As to the chandeliers, I understood that Forest City was very protective of those and had concerns about Dillards care of them. I'd love to talk with other former employees. Feel free to contact me.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I have an excellent condition Twigbee Bear complete with hat and scarf. I am interested in it's value and sending it back to Cleveland where it belongs. Thanks for any info. Marilyn, Florida

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am researching dept. stores in American and would like to include their restaurants, signature dishes and recipes. Higbee's children's stove was a special treat and I would love a photo. This is for a forthcoming book and your memories will be so appreciated.
    Sharon Hazard
    sharonhaz@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  69. George Leighty When I was with Higbees 1974 thru 1977 It was a fantastic place to work. I had a group of people that I worked with that did our jobs but had a good time and we helped each other. Credit and collection people get a bad rap but we really helped bring in the outstanding money. I miss going into the store and riding the old escalators or the elevators. Going to the employees cafeteria and talking to the sales people sharing laughs and good times. Yes I miss the store and the people. Maube one day we can have a former Higbee employee day and go to the Casino and relive old times. versalg226@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  70. The Chandeliers are on the eleventh floor hung on racks made of 2x4's under plastic tarps. They are not in pristine shape, but they are whole and repairable. The display cases from the jewelry department are up there, too. There are also some steps from the wood escalators. I've been told the narrow wood escalator in the back of the store is still there, but is walled off and you can only get to it from the 5th floor, which is under the casino's control.

    ReplyDelete
  71. There is a wonderful book called "The Silver Grille, Memories and Recipes" by Richard E. Karbert with Judith Karberg and Jane Hazen. It has pictures of everything - the little stove and the buffet, the menus, the restaurant itself throughout the years - and it also includes recipes for their famous meals, including their delicious muffins. The Children's Party Luncheon (85 cents) consisted of "Creamed chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh peas and carrots, a teeny tiny whole loaf of bread with butter, a pot of cool cocoa and for dessert an ice cream cake with three candles." I can't remember if I got my book from eBay or Amazon.com, but I paid $63 for it. Pricey, but worth the memories for sure. I worked at The Westwood Room in Higbee's Westgate when I was in high school ('63 & '64) - I remember the meals - they were the same as the downtown store, and when I saw the recipes in the book I have, I couldn't believe my eyes. I highly recommend the book to anyone who misses the beautiful Higbee's days. My mom always took my brother and me, and my aunt brought my cousin, and we had lunch at the Silver Grille downtown and thought we were the most special kids in the world. I live in Phoenix, AZ, now - but I will always miss my hometown. (If you would like to contact me, leave your e-mail and I will respond.)

    ReplyDelete
  72. While visiting my mother in Cleveland, I purchased some lovely rhinestone jewelry that had a big display above it which said "Rocks" or something like that. I'm trying to find the name of the designer. Some of the pieces were sterling. Maybe they are crystal and not rhinestone? The time was between summer of 1986 and Fall 1987.
    Does anyone know who made this jewelry designer?

    ReplyDelete
  73. My dad worked in the fine jewelry department. He was a buyer for the store. I remember meeting different people that were in sales for other companies. My dad and family would go out for dinner with them. I still have my dads' coat that he bought from there. They would sew inside the coat the name of company saying tailored for that persons name inside. Also use to get the chocolate like malt in basement for 10 cents just under the elevator stairs that went to basement.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I worked at Higbee's at Rolling Acres mall in the late eighties early nineties. I worked on the dock, I still have my blue uniform shirts with an H and Higbee's embroidered on them. What a great place to work, I met my wife while working there, she worked on the sales floor what great memories I have working there!

    ReplyDelete
  75. I get teary eyed when I look at these photographs. I was born in the inner city but that was the magic and fun about going"downtown" there was something for everyone! Rich or Poor! The snow atop the big CTS bus throwing wet slosh as it angled to the curb. The people walking shoulder to shoulder with large shopping bags from May, Or Higbees or Bailey, The avenue adorned with christmas trees and fresh fallen snow the wind hurrrying you across the square -the smell of peanuts at euclid and ontario, the hustle and bustle inside the Terminal-The Central Market! It was a simpler kinder time may we bond in the memories for as long as there is life and "Downtown"

    ReplyDelete
  76. my grandfather was the last McKelvey to run the store before selling to Higbees. Mckelveys was in business from the late 1800s until early 70s. i do collect McKelvey items,and have found quite a few things!

    ReplyDelete
  77. wondering if anyone has any old group photos of the employees of higbees from the 40 50s and 60s. a long lost cousin worked as the photographer at the downtown store. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  78. I hope they take better care of the chandeliers. Not long after they were shipped to Cleveland from Italian company that made them was destroyed by a flood and never reopened. If you are interested in Cleveland history in photographs look up The Cleveland Memory Project. Great data base for Higbee pictures.

    And my brothers, sister and were among the "Higbee Kids", those who grew up in the store because a parent worked there. My father worked downtown from the time I was in kindergarten until I graduated from college!

    ReplyDelete
  79. I worked at Higbee's in the 1970s. The store had so many opportunities for its staff to learn all the retail functions. It was an irreplaceable experience. When I moved to NYC, I was hired immediately by Macy's.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Does anyone have any information on the Christmas window display that was in the movie "a Christmas story" that had a santa that stood about 4 foot tall, had a list of names and a moving arm. I have one and can't find any info on it's history. It was purchased at an auction and I'm starting to think I might have the one from the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  81. ohiorichkid on instagram11 December, 2013 07:41

    I grew up in Cleveland, useta catch the bus to the rapid all the way downtown..this was around 1987,that corner where east 4th and public square[Higbee building]was like a dream to a kid..all the lights,all the people,the hugh mall,man ny memories are so fond of that place..the Higbee store was like a mall in itself with all the levels,it was amazing..

    ReplyDelete
  82. We would get on the Rapid at Green Road, 23 minutes we were up from the train area and into Higbees. My sister studied at The Darvas School of Design and she [12 years older] would make sister dresses we modeled on the runway. But even better was the Silver Grill. In the early 40's children's meals were in a steel stove and the food was served in little metal pots and pans ... a memory that will never fade. I'd LOVE to have one.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I worked at Beachwood Place Mall as well as the downtown location. I was employed from 1979 to 1989. I worked in the credit/cash office in both locations. I have such great memories of Higbee's. Always had a wonderful group of people to work with. I miss those days!

    ReplyDelete
  84. I have a painting of orange gladiolus against a dark green background with no artist signature, just a label that says "Higbees Picture Gallery Cleveland". Anyway to research the artist or value?

    ReplyDelete
  85. Remember Higbees as a little girl. Eating like a princess from a cardboard stove at Silver Grille.. All of the floors!! A few wooden escalators. My best memory was going up to a christmas shop through a doorway that was only small enough for a child to pass through. Secretly, your parent would hand you a $5 and you could buy gifts for your family, secretly yourself. Also, I didn"t hear any mention of the absolutely wonderful malted shakes at the end oh the downstairs escalator. The Best ever!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Just bought some dressers today at a used furniture store. On the back is the Higbee's Co label. Beautiful workman ship in these Maple dressers my guess is from the late 50's early 60's. These dressers brought me to this page and all these wonderful memories. I worked in downtown Cleveland for 14 years through the 60's and into the 70's. Loved Higbee's and the square. The Nut Hut, May Co. and Halle's each place with their own wonderful memories. Wish I had a nickel for each mile I must have walked from the square to East 9th and back again, and in heels. I'll always love Cleveland, Ohio. Movies at Play House Square and lunches. Great place to grow up and work. Thank you for this site.

    ReplyDelete
  87. i have a picture of a tree made of black and white maybe ink cant read artist but can read 44 maybe year, on back has The Higbee Co cleveland picture gallery No 18425 anyone know anything








    i have a picture of a tree maybe done in ink black and white. cant read artist but can read 44 maybe the year, on back has the Higbee Co cleveland picture gallery No 18425 any one know anything? help


    ReplyDelete
  88. We have two harlequin rabbits ( stuffed), with "Hig Bee" price tags on them. Any guess, as to, what the cost may have been on them ? One has a black and white harlequin suit, the other is multi-colored paisley. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  89. I found two oil paintings in a flea market of african americans one a man and one a woman. On the back it says the artist is Aune Joki cleveland 1960's Higbees fashion Artist on the back of the womens picture it says thrid place. Can anyone tell me anything about the artist of painting my phone number is 6789233295 e-mail dj0654714 @yahoo.com name doug jones thanks

    ReplyDelete
  90. "At the least, this store was immortalized in the classic film "A Christmas Story." "

    There's that I suppose. I had that same feeling years back when I discovered an Oscar-winning animated short film made by a bunch of French guys used a logo that once belong to a local defunct supermarket chain in Toledo among a sea of other logos in their otherwise spoof parody of Hollywood cinema, entitled "Logorama".
    https://vimeo.com/10149605

    The logo in question was that of "Food Town Supermarkets", which sadly got sold to the Grand Rapids-based Spartan Food Stores and eventually closed due to mismanagement. To this day people can't forgive the former CEO of Food Town for what he done and criticized him for once appearing dressed at some Nazi general for a WWII reenactment a few years back.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/rich-iott/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY9M7tGcLX0
    http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2010/11/21/Food-Town-s-familiar-name-resonates-with-area-shoppers.html

    Getting back to what I was saying earlier, the way Clevelanders have "A Christmas Story" to be thankful for the memory of Higbee's to exist at all, I would say the same for "Logorama" despite it's rather blatant stereotypical approach to characterization and nobody really gives a care for one measly logo that still resonates with me, having gone to that place all the time for my late mother before her passing. I'm sure every town has that story to tell like I did.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I have so many fond memories of Higbee's from late 1950's to closing. What a magical place. Christmas time was amazing, and for children the Twigbee Shop, riding the escalators & elevators but as a child my most cherished memory was down in the basement where they had the frosty bar. Frostys were thick milk shakes served in a slim glass with no straw. You had to hold the glass to your mouth and sort of suck it out. They would get all over your nose, but what a treat.

    ReplyDelete
  92. I now live in Pittsburgh having left Cleveland in 1958. I have been searching for a few years as to which store (Higbees vs Halles) had the children's meal with the little wooden cabinet with the candlesticks (must have been birthday candles in them) and the little white chicken with (I thought) chicken a la king. You have confirmed my memories.
    My grandfather worked at The May Company out in the suburbs near Cleveland Heights/University Heights in the luggage department until the early 1960s. Wiley Jr High was right near it as many times on visits back to Cleveland, we attended Saturday afternoon kiddie plays there.
    My Pittsburgh memories are of stores like Kaufmann's (owned by the May Company), Joseph Horne's and Gimbels. We used to have lunch at Kaufmann's on the 11th floor but today that is a Macy's and they only use the first 4-5 floors of the old store.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Back in the 1940's and early 1950's my reflections were as "Anonymous 02 July, 2014 14:30", when my mother would be though with her shopping, my treat was a milk shake before leaving the store. Money was limited back then and as much as I begged there was never a 2nd one, I really enjoyed the flavor, does anyone remember what it was?

    ReplyDelete

Comments