Tour A Christmas Story Movie House: The House & Neighborhood

Recently I took a trip to Ohio to visit family and while there I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages. I hopped in the car one morning and struck out for Cleveland to tour the home featured in the movie, A Christmas Story.

A Christmas Story

 

This wonderful old Victorian home located at 3159 W. 11th Street in Cleveland Ohio, was used for all the exterior shots of the movie.

A Christmas Story House (side view)

 

It’s an interesting story how it came to be restored to its former movie-house glory.  The owner, Brian Jones, grew up watching the movie each year. It was a favorite movie of his and his family. Brian went on to attend the U. S. Naval Academy and graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Next he headed off to flight school with plans to become a Navy pilot but those dreams were shattered when he found his vision didn’t meet the Navy’s strict vision requirements. I’ve always wondered why pilots can’t just wear glasses or contacts? Maybe they are afraid they’ll fall off or come out.

To cheer Brian up, his dad made a lamp just like the leg lamp featured in the movie, A Christmas Story. It was a labor of love and quite the challenge but it turned out really great and he shipped it off to Brian. Before he shipped it, the lamp had been a big hit with everyone who saw it. When Brian saw it, he got the idea to start reproducing the leg lamp as a business venture.

A Christmas Story House W. 11th Street, Cleveland Ohio

 

One day Brian’s wife who was on deployment in the Middle East, emailed Brian to let him know her Captain had noticed the house from the movie was for sale on eBay! HA! Is there anything you can’t buy on eBay? She jokingly told Brian he should buy it…and by golly, he did!

Brian offered the seller $150,000 on the spot if he would end the auction right then. The seller did and Brian found himself the proud owner of the home featured in the iconic and well-loved movie, A Christmas Story.

eBay Ad for A Christmas Story Movie House

eBay Ad from A Christmas Story website

While touring the home, our guide told us Brian was in shock when he visited the home and saw it in person for the first time. Brian was living in CA and he had thought the price he paid was great compared to what houses were going for out there, that was until he learned the other homes on the street were selling for around $25,000.

The historic 1895 home had unfortunately been renovated with vinyl siding, new windows and had been converted into a duplex. All that had to be undone before it could be taken back to its original movie house appearance.

A Christmas Story Movie House before restoration

Photo from A Christmas Story Website

 

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I arrived and got my first sighting of the home. It was awesome…just like the movie. I’m pretty sure I became 9 years old right there on the spot! Be careful if you visit, this too could happen to you!

House from Movie, A Christmas Story

 

When visiting, one thing you can’t help but notice is the stark contrast between the A Christmas Story house and the homes surrounding it. The other homes are in pretty rough shape.

A Christmas Story Movie House Neighborhood

 

While buying my $10 ticket for the tour of the home, I asked about this and was told there’s a 5K/10K Run each year in December and the proceeds go to the “A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project.” You’ll find more info about the run at the A Christmas Story website here: A Christmas Story Run

A Christmas Story House Neighborhook in Cleveland, Ohio

 

Today I’m giving you a tour of the outside and tomorrow we are going in! See that triple window there above the porch? That window is in Ralphie and Randy’s bedroom.

House from Movie, A Christmas Story

 

When you’re standing in their room and looking out that window, you can see the gift store for the house across the street, slightly down on the left. The garages you see house some of the old vehicles used in the movie. I’ll share pics of those in a later post. I just can’t possibly fit everything into one post, it would be way too long.

Gift Store for A Christmas Story Movie House

 

Standing at that same window, if you look directly across the street, you’ll see the home that houses the A Christmas Story Museum. It contains all the wonderful artifacts, collections and props from the movie. I can’t wait to share what I saw in there in an upcoming post.

A Christmas Story Movie Museum

 

Back to the house…if you haven’t ever seen the movie, A Christmas Story, you need to correct that deficient in your education right away! 🙂 It’s delightful and will have you reliving moments from your childhood, no matter your age.  Ironically, when the movie came out in 1983, it was not a hit and only lasted two weeks in the theater. How things changed when it started playing on TV!

It has become a holiday classic and people travel from far and wide to see the home in person. By the way, July is the perfect time to tour it. It was just me and another couple on the tour so we had a nice leisurely tour and I was able to take a bunch of pictures since the rooms weren’t filled with tour-goers.

House from Movie, A Christmas Story

 

Tours run all day long and during this time of year, the groups are smaller. If you go around Christmastime, expect long lines snaking down the sidewalk outside. Take a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate…it’s cold in Cleveland in December!

A Christmas Story House

 

A view of the porch on the left side of the home…

A Christmas Story House side steps

 

Another view of the side of the home, beyond the porch…

A Christmas Story House

 

The back of the home…

A Christmas Story House Back View

 

The backyard…

A Christmas Story House Back Yard

 

Remember the scene in the movie where Ralphie daydreams of being a hero with his Red Ryder Carbine Action Range Model air rifle? He fantasizes over saving his family from Black Bart and his cohorts. Notice the old shed in this scene.

Shed in Movie, A Christmas Story

 

We see it again in the background when Ralphie goes outside on Christmas morning to try out his new gun.

A Christmas Story Black Bart's Shed

 

It had fallen into terrible shape by the time Brian bought the home.

Shed before renovation

 

Today it has been fully restored, as well.

A Christmas Story Movie Shed

 

Shed in A Christmas Story

 

I peeked inside and snapped this pic. Let’s head back around front.

Inside Shed, A Christmas Story Movie

 

Do you collect Dept. 56 lit houses? If so, they have reproduced this house for that collection. Over the years they’ve added to it and now you can buy the whole movie village, including Higbees Department store, Warren G. Harding (aka Victoria School) which is Ralphie’s school, Bo Ling Chop Suey Palace, he Chinese restaurant where they end up eating on Christmas Day and other places from the movie. I had fun looking at the displays while in the gift store.

A Christmas Story Movie House, W. 11th Street, Cleveland Ohio_wm

 

Remember the Christmas lights around the porch roof in the movie? Yup, it’s got ’em!

A Christmas Story House String Porch Lighting

 

 

Wish I could have seen it lit up at night with the leg lamp glowing in the center window.

A Christmas Story House Porch_wm

This was the view as I headed up the stairs to go inside for the tour.

A Christmas Story House front porch

 

I took numerous pictures from every angle possible trying to get a close up of the lamp from outside. I finally had to give up, the light reflecting off the window made it impossible.

Leg Lamp From A Christmas Movie

 

The porch leading to the front door…

A Christmas Story House Front Door

 

Tomorrow we’ll go inside for Tablescape Thursday and I can’t wait to share how the table was set and the wonderful vintage kitchen from the movie!

Front Door on A Christmas Story House

 

In the meantime, take a tour of the home in this previous “movie house tour” posted here: Tour The Movie House in A Christmas Story

House in the Movie, A Christmas Story

 




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Comments

  1. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, Virginia says:

    What fun! Susan, we love you! Thanks.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thank you for this! My family and I absolutely adore the movie!. Great pictures…can’t wait to see the inside 🙂

  3. patricia l.m. says:

    Jean Shepard grew up in Hammond, In. about four miles from my home. The main street through Hammond is Hohman Ave. There is a Cleveland St. which I believe he grew up on. The big department store in town was called Goldblatt’s and a favorite chinese restaurant was around the corner. It was named Cam Lam’s. As kids we were allowed to ride the bus to spend the day shopping at Goldblatt’s and having lunch at Cam Lam’s. Such good memories. We were so surprised to see this movie many years ago that was rooted in our backyard!

  4. SUSAN, I KNOW THAT WAS INTERESTING. THANKS FOR SHARING

  5. Mary from Virginia says:

    So cute and fun! It makes me feel sick he paid so much for that house!

    I hope the rest of the neighborhood catches up, it would be beautiful.

    Thank you for the tour. Can’t wait to see inside.

  6. Wow that was fun! I knew he bought it but I didn’t know he had paid way more than the going values locally- but then that was the house from the movie and that added significance to it! My kids loved watching it and I usually allow myself to watch it once through the holiday season. I think TNT has done 24 hr. marathons with it! That’s pretty cool that they have the movie props and the old cars across the street. They’ve really gone all out! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh Susan, I grew up in Cleveland and lived in one of those duplex houses that look like the ones next to the Christmas Story House. We lived on 114th Street. I never knew that it was in Cleveland. I used to go down town and shop at Higbee’s Dept Store. This post brought back so many wonderful memories, thanks so much. Will have to watch it again and see if I remember any of the surrounds.
    Cleveland is really fixing up everything down town – the beautiful marina, new baseball field and the flats. Of course it’s been about 12 years since I have been back there and I am sure there have been a lot more changes.
    Thanks so much Susan.
    Mary

  8. Laura Jaco says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of this wonderful house! A Christmas Story is my absolute favorite Christmas movie! Thanks for bringing a little Christmas in July!

  9. I just loved this post! My husband is a huge fan of the show, and now the kids and I are as well. Such a cool idea to post movie houses!!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂 🙂

  10. ACS was my father’s all-time VERY favorite movie. He was Ralphie’s exact age the year the movie was based…..he had only one sibling, a little brother……he wore glasses he says were almost exactly like Ralphie’s. He had that exact furnace. I swear my father turned into a little boy every time he watched it – which absolutely delighted us all. Funny, until I saw your post yesterday inside that cupboard I hadn’t realize (maybe forgot?) that it was in Cleveland. I live in Ohio and haven’t even ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Perhaps I need to do those two things soon.

    Thanks, Susan, this is just too cute and I look forward to your post tomorrow!

  11. Love this movie and it is always a tradition at our home during the holidays – usually Christmas day! We know it so well, we can say the lines right along with the actors. Thanks for sharing about the house. I had no idea it was in Cleveland. Gives me a reason to visit!

  12. claudette flanigan says:

    thank you for this tour! Our family loves this movie! Can’t wait to see the inside. How lucky you are to have been able to walk through and visit the museum and gift shops.

  13. Family in Cleveland? Wow, I am from Cleveland!!!! I would love to hear how you enjoyed the rest of your time in Cleveland and what you thought about the city, restaurants, etc….did you visit the Cleveland Museum of Art? Small world!

    • Actually, family was about 4 hours away so I drove over to Cleveland after visiting with them. It was such a long drive there and back, I didn’t get to see anything else while there, unfortunately. Have you toured the house, Kim? Loved all the old homes I saw during my brief trip there!

  14. pam ~ crumpety cottage says:

    Susan, you’re like an excited little kid, talking about this house. 😀 I actually hated this movie and only re-watched it last year because you and others here loved it so much. It wasn’t quite as horrible as I remembered, lol, but I think it may have been a shortened/edited version. that I saw this time. But can you imagine Brian paying that much money for a house in that neighborhood!!! Yikes, that seller saw him coming, didn’t he? Oh well, I hope he’s not unhappy about what he did and I’m sure knowing that people can tour it year round gives him a lot of pleasure. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to the inside pics and the museum.

    • McKenna Lane says:

      Oh I am sure Brian will be smiling all the way to the bank in time. A big investment – but this house will be a money-maker for YEARS!!

  15. Gloria in Pgh says:

    Thanks Susan for this post!! I love the film. I watch it every year. It would not be Christmas without it!!
    How interesting that Brian made a business out of selling the leg lamp!! One of my neighbors has one of those leg lamps and it is one display in a front window of their home ALL YEAR LONG!!!!!!! It makes me smile every time I drive by!
    I can’t wait to read the rest of the posts on your visit!!
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  16. My now hubby took me to see that movie when we were dating. I fell in love with the movie (and my now hubby too) and have watched it ever since. My parents are from Shaker Heights and I love the scenes of downtown Cleveland at Christmas and the old Higbee’s store which is no longer there. Every time I see that movie I have such fond memories. Thanks for sharing the story of the house. It is amazing how that Jean Shepard story has touched so many.

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  17. This is so cool! All of my children are in their 30’s but when they come home for Christmas watching A Christmas Story is a must. That movie will never go out of style. Thanks for all the pictures.

  18. THREE CHEERS for the Christmas House and ALL THE HARD work Brian!! It’s fantastic!! franki

  19. McKenna Lane says:

    Oh My Gosh !
    A year after graduating college, my best friend – Steve – and I went out to see a movie (an obviously forgettable film that we absolutely HAD to see opening weekend). When we got to the theater, we found that it was sold out. Would we want to see another film instead? What do you have? They listed all the other forgettable films and then apologetically mentioned a historic Christmas film they were also running. We shrugged and said we would take that one. That movie room (on opening night) had only two other couples and ourselves. Steve and I laughed SO hard and then spent the whole evening at the restaurant talking about what a great film it was and how perfectly it matched our earliest memories of winter in the Midwest. We spoke of that film for YEARS before it became popular. What fun memories…of that night and of our childhoods!!

    • McKenna, don’t you love it when that happens…you see a movie you know nothing about and it turns out to be awesome. I love your story…what a wonderful memory! I don’t know why but I often like movies that aren’t necessarily huge box office hits, probably because I can’t stand violence and so many movies these days are filled with it. I’m not sure if you saw this follow-up post but just in case you didn’t, here’s the link:
      http://betweennapsontheporch.net/inside-the-kitchen-of-a-christmas-story-movie-house/
      I’ll be posting a tour of the rest of the house real soon, probably one day this next week.

  20. I live in Cleveland as a blogger and Realtor. The neighborhood once housed some very fine families such as portrayed on Christmas Story. The good people worked at the steel mills that the house and neighborhood over look. The city is trying to bring back the area. They built a shopping mall called Steelyard. We have a sandwich shop there but I am sad looking at the idled steel mills rusting in the sun like dinosaur carcasses, when it was such a vibrant but smelly place. I once asked a woman who lived by a steel mill how could she stand the smell. She replied that the smell meant that her husband had work. That was once upon a time when America Worked. It was a time where you could a job and live comfortably not lavishly.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Claudia. Things have really changed, some things for the better and some definitely not. I grew up in Macon, GA and we have a paper mill down there. Oh my gosh, did it stink when the winds blew just the right way! You got kind of used to it after a while. The last few trips I made down that way to see my sister, I asked why I never smelled it anymore. Apparently, they found a way to make it not smell…have no idea how. Sure wish they had figured that out when I lived there for 20+ years. That is sad about the steel mills rusting. I hope another industry comes in there. Maybe it’s time to tear down those old mills and create a new business that will bring back the jobs. Hope someone does that in the near future. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Cleveland from the folks who live in the area since I started blogging about this house. Wish I had had time to explore more while there. Know a good Realtor in Dayton? I may be moving there sometime in the future.

  21. I have to say I am flabbergasted by this news. 🙂
    I have never actually seen this movie, but my husband talks about it all the time. I had NO idea the house was in Cleveland…let alone on W 11th. I spent the first few years of my life in a house on W 11th in Cleveland, my grandmother’s house is still on W 16th. Totally crazy. My mom says I would stand at the fence in the back yard and yell at the top of my lungs for no reason at all. Ha ha 🙂 Good times. 🙂
    Thanks for this!
    Kelly

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