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  #1  
Old 12-18-2008, 01:58 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Am I Imagining This Ceiling Train?

An early memory of mine is of a small, ceiling-tracked train children could ride in some sort of department store. The track was on the ceiling and the train hung below it. The train went around the toy section of this store, then into a smaller room with Christmas dioramas and decorations. I'm pretty sure the train was silver and looked streamlined.

I was raised outside of Portland, OR, but it is possible this store was somewhere else, but not too far away. It could have been a mall, but it seemed to me to be one single, large store.
From this same memory, the toy section of the store was stocked with a Star Wars AT-AT, so it must have been in the very early 1980's. (If that helps.)

So, am I remembering a dream, or did this thing really exist?
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2008, 09:20 AM
jayjay jayjay is online now
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Googling brings up mention (but only mention) of Lit Brothers department store in Philadelphia having a Silver Rocket train that hung from the ceiling. I don't know if they had a store in Oregon, though, or if they were only a Philly concern.
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  #3  
Old 12-18-2008, 10:51 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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I found it! I'm not insane!

It was at the downtown Portland Meier & Frank, in the "Santaland" toy department, but it was shut down in 2005. Pics here and here.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2008, 11:02 AM
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That is freakin' COOL!
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2008, 11:09 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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Wanamakers toy department (Phila, Pa) had a 'monorail train', too, that hung from the ceiling. I guess they were fairly popular back when department stores had gigantic toy departments.

The monorail is now on display (hanging from the ceiling) at the ''Please Touch Museum" across the street from The Ben Franklin Institute for anyone from the Philly area that is interested. (More Wanamakers toy store info: Nicholas Smith Trains in Broomall, PA has two of the orginal train displays).
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  #6  
Old 12-18-2008, 11:23 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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This will give you an idea of the scale.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChWzYDO3vDY

This was Wanamakers and is now Macys

An amazing department store building. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanamaker%27s
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  #7  
Old 12-18-2008, 11:43 AM
garygnu garygnu is offline
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Cool!

It would appear from the size of the car and the shape of the windows, Wanamaker's used the same Louden Supertrack model as Meier & Frank (which is also now a Macy's).
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2008, 11:50 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Midtown Plaze in Rochester set up its monorail at Christmastime for decades.

Here's a picture.

Kids could visit Santa and then take a ride.
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  #9  
Old 12-18-2008, 03:27 PM
BwanaBob BwanaBob is offline
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That looks cool but I've always been claustrophobic so as a kid, I would have balked at taking that ride.
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  #10  
Old 12-19-2008, 02:45 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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I knew the answer just from the title.
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  #11  
Old 12-19-2008, 03:28 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Midtown Plaze in Rochester set up its monorail at Christmastime for decades.

Here's a picture.

Kids could visit Santa and then take a ride.
Wow, that is a blast from the past. They also had a clock with animatronic action also, but my googlefu sucks today.

I was bummed when I heard they closed down and turned the area into an office=(

Edited to add:

Ha wiki comes through - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midtown_Plaza_(Rochester)

Last edited by aruvqan; 12-19-2008 at 03:29 PM..
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2008, 03:59 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Fixed link
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  #13  
Old 12-19-2008, 07:24 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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They had one (I dimly remember riding in it) in the E.W. Edwards Dept. Store in downtown Syracuse, NY, in the '50's. There was also a Woolworth's. Right out of "A Christmas Story".
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  #14  
Old 12-19-2008, 08:30 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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The old Rich's department store in downtown Atlanta used to have a ride called the Pink Pig. I remember riding in it when I was four years old.
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  #15  
Old 12-19-2008, 08:46 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Midtown Plaza closed? I didn't know that.
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2008, 08:16 PM
rocking chair rocking chair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster View Post
Wanamakers toy department (Phila, Pa) had a 'monorail train', too, that hung from the ceiling. I guess they were fairly popular back when department stores had gigantic toy departments.

The monorail is now on display (hanging from the ceiling) at the ''Please Touch Museum" across the street from The Ben Franklin Institute for anyone from the Philly area that is interested. (More Wanamakers toy store info: Nicholas Smith Trains in Broomall, PA has two of the orginal train displays).

the please touch museum is in its new home at memorial hall.

i remember the monorail. it was very nifty.
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  #17  
Old 12-21-2008, 12:14 AM
Xema Xema is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
I was bummed when I heard they closed down
Midtown Plaza Closed! - major bummer. I remember riding the monorail, and watching the Clock of Nations.

I must be getting old.
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  #18  
Old 12-21-2008, 12:46 PM
CC CC is offline
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aside...

Those screens across the windows in the first pictures in the thread remind me of the little caged in cars that used to take you around in the Coal Mine in the Museum of Science and Industry. I have very little doubt that my extreme claustrophobia can be traced to early rides in those devices. I shudder to think about taking that "cool" train. Eeeeww Don't make me look again.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:05 PM
Renetta Renetta is offline
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You are not imagining the train at M&F in downtown Portland..........It was such a magical place back then....It was on the ceiling and it was big and went around the 3 ed floor where Santa was. And remember the Cinnamon Bear!!!! About 5 years ago (before Macy's took over) we went to M&F downtown. I was sneaking all around the upstairs offices because I wanted to find that place..... I walked down some back stairs and opened a door...And there it was.....It took my breathe away!!! The room was in disarray but the train was there on the ceiling...... I seriously teared up..... We lived in Gladstone, a small town next to Oregon City. It was the highlight of 'Christmas to go to Portland, to Meier & Frank....to see the windows...and then......sigh......Go ride the train and see Santa.... Thanks for reminding me!!
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  #20  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:07 PM
Renetta Renetta is offline
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Indeed there was!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
An early memory of mine is of a small, ceiling-tracked train children could ride in some sort of department store. The track was on the ceiling and the train hung below it. The train went around the toy section of this store, then into a smaller room with Christmas dioramas and decorations. I'm pretty sure the train was silver and looked streamlined.

I was raised outside of Portland, OR, but it is possible this store was somewhere else, but not too far away. It could have been a mall, but it seemed to me to be one single, large store.
From this same memory, the toy section of the store was stocked with a Star Wars AT-AT, so it must have been in the very early 1980's. (If that helps.)

So, am I remembering a dream, or did this thing really exist?

I have posted further down on this page.....about the TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #21  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:10 PM
Renetta Renetta is offline
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Indeed there was a train at M&F that went around the ceiling!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
An early memory of mine is of a small, ceiling-tracked train children could ride in some sort of department store. The track was on the ceiling and the train hung below it. The train went around the toy section of this store, then into a smaller room with Christmas dioramas and decorations. I'm pretty sure the train was silver and looked streamlined.

I was raised outside of Portland, OR, but it is possible this store was somewhere else, but not too far away. It could have been a mall, but it seemed to me to be one single, large store.
From this same memory, the toy section of the store was stocked with a Star Wars AT-AT, so it must have been in the very early 1980's. (If that helps.)

So, am I remembering a dream, or did this thing really exist?
You are much younger than me, I am 56...but...you are not imagining the train at M&F in downtown Portland..........It was such a magical place back then....It was on the ceiling and it was big and went around the 3 ed floor where Santa was. And remember the Cinnamon Bear!!!! About 5 years ago (before Macy's took over) we went to M&F downtown. I was sneaking all around the upstairs offices because I wanted to find that place..... I walked down some back stairs and opened a door...And there it was.....It took my breathe away!!! The room was in disarray but the train was there on the ceiling...... I seriously teared up..... We lived in Gladstone, a small town next to Oregon City. It was the highlight of 'Christmas to go to Portland, to Meier & Frank....to see the windows...and then......sigh......Go ride the train and see Santa.... Thanks for reminding me!!
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2010, 10:19 PM
fumster fumster is offline
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And they had the "real" Santa
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  #23  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:32 AM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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These miniature monorails are not unique. A google search turns up dozens, and there's a whole website devoted to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Midtown Plaza Closed! - major bummer. I remember riding the monorail, and watching the Clock of Nations.
Midtown had been a ghost town for about a decade after all of the anchor stores departed. It closed in the summer of 2008, and they started demolition earlier this year. The clock has been moved to the airport, and the monorail went to a local non-profit.
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  #24  
Old 12-06-2010, 11:55 AM
naita naita is online now
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Were zombies allowed to ride them?
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  #25  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:11 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
Midtown Plaza Closed! - major bummer. I remember riding the monorail, and watching the Clock of Nations.

I must be getting old.
It's funny that when I read the OP, I had no idea what he was talking about. When I saw the pictures, I had a "I remember something like that!" moment. Indeed, it was at Midtown Plaza. And the clock! Oh, what memories.

I'm starting to wonder if my brother's kids rode on that thing.

Anyone remember a Christmas Wizard at the Plaza?
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  #26  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:19 AM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Originally Posted by naita View Post
Were zombies allowed to ride them?
Yes, but they had to pay.
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  #27  
Old 12-07-2010, 12:34 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
Were zombies allowed to ride them?
Were? No. Are they allowed to ride them now? Hell, yeah!
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  #28  
Old 11-07-2014, 01:47 AM
Aboona Aboona is offline
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Am I imagining this ceiling train?

For these many years, I too thought I was imagining this memory! When I was a little boy, my mother used to take us to Wanamaker's in Brooklyn, NY, where we would board a train that would travel in a circle suspended on tracks attached to the ceiling! The ride would last about three minutes maybe. It's always been one of my favorite childhood memories. It's wonderful to know, after all these years of "remembering", that I didn't just dream this up!
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  #29  
Old 11-07-2014, 02:19 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Maybe yes, maybe no. Some shopping plazas around Christmas would set up special trains and other elaborate Christmas decorations. I remember back in the late 60s Midtown Plaza had a Christmas monorail [seen in the back of the picture behind Santa on his throne.] Other venues had trains set up on the floor.

So, it all depends on if Wanamaker's did the whole futuristic thing and have a monorail they decorated up for Christmas or not. They did in their Philadephia store.
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  #30  
Old 11-07-2014, 10:12 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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For all you former Rochesterians: Midtown Plaza is a rising zombie! (And that site is about equivalent to watching a grave for activity. If there's a way to thread the individual images together I can't find it.)

The big plans from 2008 were wrecked in the economic crash, but a couple of buildings are populated on the block. Midtown will supposedly contain a floor or two of stores just like the old days, but won't be a mall with department store anchors. At the current rate, I wouldn't bother to visit before 2018.
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  #31  
Old 11-07-2014, 10:42 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Christmastime downtown at the Portland Meier & Frank-those are wonderful memories. Gorgeous window displays, the entire store dressed to the nines for the holidays, hot chocolate for the kids and hot coffee for the adults, Santa's lap to sit on, and of course the Santaland Monorail.
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  #32  
Old 11-07-2014, 12:45 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philster View Post
This will give you an idea of the scale.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChWzYDO3vDY

This was Wanamakers and is now Macys

An amazing department store building. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanamaker%27s
The Wiki link was absoutely fascinating, especially to someone who grew up in Philly when Wanamakers was the place you went to for quality. Oddly enough I was unaware of the suspended monorail nor the one at Lit Bros.

AFAIK, the only suspended monorail used in public transportation is in Wuppertal, Germany.
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