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Cleveland Christmas Memories - The Sterling-Lindner-Davis Tree

By December 1, 2010

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Readers over "a certain age" will remember the spectacular indoor Christmas tree, the largest in the nation, at the Sterling-Lindner-Davis department store. The store, located at E. 12th Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, served the community from 1909 until it closed in 1968.

Do you have a favorite Cleveland holiday memory? Share it with About.com Cleveland readers here.

(photo credit: CSU/Cleveland Press Collection)


November 24, 2008 at 9:40 pm
(1) Doug Viant says:

Why is it spelled Lindner and other times Linder? My aunt worked there in the 50s and we always saw the tree at Christmas.

December 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm
(2) Joanne says:

It is Lindner, not Linder. It was the best store to visit. The tree was huge and the bulbs, well, seemed to go all the way down the floor. It also had a great Santa and Francis the Talking Mule. You paid maybe 25 or 50 cents and a gift would come down a slide. After that ended, they had a beautiful forest land that was magical! Loved going downtown. Really miss that adventure – no more window scenes :(

December 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(3) Rose Marie Herman says:

I lived in Cleveland years ago till I moved to Ca in ’75 and going to sterlings to see that tree was a highlight of my young days,,my grandma used to take me to all the stores but that tree was magical to me,,I am in my 80s now and have yet to see a tree that lovely,,,,Thanks for bringing this wonderful memory back of my hometown,,,
Merry Christmas,,,,,,,

January 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm
(4) jan benson gardner says:

My husband and I met there in 1958. Married in 1960 and will celebrate 50 year anniversary in April. The tree was fabulous. I hear it grew one foot while it was inside the store. What memories.

July 26, 2010 at 11:35 am
(5) Gary Thomas says:

My mother worked there. I can remember as youngster in the early sixtys I about 10 years old and looking at the giant tree from each differnt level those were some of the good old days. I still have a colored postcard of the tree

August 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(6) Pam Garrud says:

My grandfather, Fritz Kohls, was responsible for putting the tree up for a number of years until his sudden death in about 1965. As a very little girl of about four years old, I got a ride on the Christmas train all by myself one Sunday afternoon.

December 16, 2010 at 10:58 am
(7) Carol says:

I have been reading stories with so many memories of Cleveland Christmases during my childhood. Interesting, of all the comments I have read on each site about Sterling – Lindner-Davis. Joann’s was the only one that has mentioned Francis the Talking Mule!!! The tree was spectacular, but my precious memories were of Francis!! It is with painful thoughts that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will never have the memories of such splendid Christmases. I do have to say the downtown area is beautifully decorated and Tower City is always nice, but I miss going in all of the gaily decorated stores and the animated characters in their store windows. I am so disappointed with the Great Lakes Mall, that I do not even like to shop there. Santa is tucked away down a hallway, not even in the middle of the mall anymore. Instead, you have Kiosks where people are grabbing at you in a very pushy way to buy their products. For many years now, the decorations that the mall had were not even Christmas colors – a very bland aqua. I am not even sure if they are decorated at all anymore. If they do not want to celebrate Christmas, they should not be reaching out for our Christmas dollars.

December 17, 2010 at 12:22 am
(8) Kimberlee says:

Ohh SuchWonderful Memories of the Sterling – Lindner Tree
! Seeing it from every level was the BEST ! I ran around every floor not missing a branch to see the ornaments ~ Ohh to be 7 again !

October 14, 2011 at 2:07 am
(9) Linda piccari says:

She was my aunt her sister was my grandmother.
I never meet her.

October 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm
(10) Preston says:

I feel privileged to have been a young boy in the late 50′s early 60′s. Christmastime in Cleveland was wonderful. Call it sentimentality, but for a lot of reasons, the kids nowadays don’t know what they’ve missed. I’m sure they will look back, and have their memories too. But nothing like our “good old days”!

December 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm
(11) Susan Veitch says:

I loved Francis!!!! Lots of great memories in a great town. Am on the East Coast now but would move back in a minute!

December 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm
(12) charles martin says:

i grew up in cleveland in the 50s and i remember going downtown during christmas to higbees and other stores and seeing the huge trees at sterling lindners co. i hope i spelled that right! downtown cleveland to me was the most beautiful time at christmas i can ever remember. i sure miss living there and maybe someday and can visit again at christmas time!

December 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm
(13) Leslee says:

Great memories. The Sterling tree and Francis is one of my best memories of Christmas . Would love to see a picture of Francis if anyone has one. Going downtown was always such a treat!

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