The most fun we had on our trip to Cleveland, Ohio, last month was going inside the home where “A Christmas Story” was filmed. By now, I’m sure very few people haven’t seen the film, which has become a holiday classic featuring the young boy Ralphie and his dream of owning a Red Ryder BB gun.
The house located at 3159 W. 11th Street in Cleveland was used to film the exterior shots, while another home was used to film the interior scenes. However, the interior of the Cleveland home has been refurbished and furnished to appear like the one in the film. There’s even a cabinet to hide under like Ralphie’s little brother did in the movie.
Although we didn’t have time to take advantage of the opportunity, the home can also be rented for overnight stays.
The location of the house is now a compound, featuring the house, another home that serves as a gift shop and another small house that acts as a museum and houses movie props and memorabilia. All the buildings are open to the public year ’round. The Tremont neighborhood is an older community but, likely thanks to the influx of tourists, many of the surrounding homes are being refurbished.
Did you know “A Christmas Story,” based on a memoir by Jean Shepherd, was directed by an Alabama native? Bob Clark was the director of several popular films in the 1970s and ’80s, including “Porky’s” and the horror film, “Black Christmas.” There’s a bench located outside the Christmas Story house in Cleveland that was the place where Clark’s cameo in “Christmas Story” was filmed. Click here to read more about him.
About the house
The modest two-story home was built circa-1895. In 2004, the house was put up for sale on eBay and Brian Jones, a San Diego businessman and fan of the movie, bought it for $150,000. He used proceeds from his business, the Red Rider Leg Lamp Company, which manufactures replicas of the iconic leg lamp from the film.
Because the home had been modified over the years, a lot of work was required to return the exterior to its original appearance. Inside, Jones turned the home into a replica of the home in the movie, as close as he could, anyway. Although this home was not used for interior shots, it is furnished like the home in the movie. Then Jones bought two other homes in the neighborhood for the shop and museum.
The website for the house says, “Directly across the street from the house is the official A Christmas Story House Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. Among the props and costumes are the toys from the Higbee’s (department store) window, Randy’s snowsuit, the chalkboard from Miss Shields’ classroom and the family car.
Proceeds from the shop and museum go toward maintaining the house.
The Rowley Inn
I was kind of fascinated by a little place called the Rowley Inn a few houses down on the corner. I wondered why there was a business in a residential neighborhood. It turned out to be a pub that had been in business in that spot since 1906. When I looked it up when I got home, I learned it has a connection to the Christmas Story house.
Its website says, “The Rowley Inn was, in our opinion, a very integral part of the filming of the movie ‘A Christmas Story’ due to in part our location. We are located across the street from the famed house and would like to think that if ‘the old man’ were to drink somewhere, it would be here. During the filming the upstairs of the building served as a location for make-up and wardrobe, and the bar served as a location for post-filming meetings. Many extras in the movie were patrons who regularly frequented the bar and were there at a minute’s notice when someone was needed, and several even still live in the neighborhood.”