How You Used to go Downtown on Black Friday

Today is Black Friday, the name given to the day after Thanksgiving when merchants do so much business that they go “into the black” for the calendar year.

But in the midst of a pandemic Black Friday, like so many other traditions, has been upended.

Merchants continue to bombard the public with Black Friday advertising and even before the pandemic there was so much of it that it seemed as though the entire month of November was being transformed into Black Friday.

Let’s go back in time, though, when people on the east side of Cleveland would ride the Shaker Rapid downtown on Black Friday to visit Higbee’s for a day of shopping that included lunch at the famed Silver Grille.

You would step off the car at Cleveland Union Terminal and made the short walk to the department store located in the Terminal Tower complex on Public Square.

Shown above is Shaker Heights Rapid No. 90 cruising past the high-rise apartment buildings just off Shaker Square along what is known today as the Green Line of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

This image was made in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Highbee’s was still much an institution in downtown Cleveland then as was its rival Halle Brothers further down Euclid Avenue.

Then again, maybe you rode Car 90 to go to Hallee’s to visit Mr. Jingeling on the seventh floor where he served as Santa’s keeper of the keys.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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