Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Comes to O'Neil's – 1954

I've done quite a few Christmas posts on O'Neil - Sheffield Center over the years on this blog (including Christmas 1955 and 1960, Santa's arrival in 1959 and 1963, and the Talking Christmas Tree. I guess it's because the shopping center left such a big impression on me as a kid.

Well, here are two more ads for O'Neil - Sheffield Center, both from 1954 – the year it opened. Both ads ran in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1954.

First up is the ad announcing Santa's arrival in a helicopter – same as he did in later years.

In the same edition of the Lorain Journal was this full-page ad trumpeting the arrival of Christmas at the center for the very first time.
Note that the Talking Christmas Tree had not yet made its appearance in 1954. Instead, a 40-foot live 'community' Christmas tree is promoted.
The full-page ad does a good job of making the case to go out there and check out all the wonderful holiday sights. The center's ideal location between Lorain and Elyria did indeed position it as the community place to shop (much to the detriment of Downtown Lorain) until Midway Mall was built.
I never did feel the same way about Midway Mall as I did about O'Neil's. Maybe it's because the mall was in Elyria and didn't have that connection with Lorain that O'Neil's did. Or possibly because it was such a headache to get to Midway Mall (still is) with having to go up and over Route 57 to get there.
We'll see in a few years whether the planned highway improvements in that area (and the removal of the bridge) result in a revival for Midway Mall.
Meanwhile, the 'reimagined' Centre of Sheffield remains. Even in its new configuration, it still brings back holiday memories for many local Baby Boomers.


Anonymous said...

Good memories! I was one of those original "Gay Christmas Carolers" and I am proud to say that the entire event went on without incident. It was a groundbreaking moment for the community, and I will always admire the management of O'Neil's for their progressive view toward holiday entertainment.

-Alfred J. Sacagawea. Esq.

Anonymous said...

I was there, too, Alfred, and as I recall the next year we proposed an all-male production of "Thumbelina" for the holidays, but our ideas were quickly rebuffed.

Still, such victories must be measure not by quantity but by the quality of their impact on society. It was a good beginning...

-Mr. Kato Lichtenstein

Anonymous said...

LOL nicely done! tip of the hat to both, Mr Sacagawea and Mr Lichtenstein.