The era of downtown multi-storied department stores seems to be all but over in most of the nation.
The Christmas season brought crowds of shoppers who could buy most of their gifts at stores that were only blocks apart. Middle-aged or older folks often remember those times.
Large chain “box stores” and online shopping have been game changers since before the turn of the 21st century.
Nevertheless, small stores and businesses still persist under the stress of everything from limited parking to this year’s COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, those in Clearfield County are noted for customer attention and friendly service.
Leitzinger’s Department Store was a mainstay of downtown Clearfield shopping for generations. The store was begun by A.E. and John Leitzinger in 1882 and moved into its Market Street building in 1901.
It can be said that the store was its own version of a box store but with five floors. It had an elevator and, as a memory from the past, an elevator operator.
Everything from furniture, glassware, carpeting, home furnishings, clothes and toy could be found at Leitzinger’s.
Customers redeemed their filled books of precious S&H green stamps on the fifth floor. The fascinating pneumatic tube system took cash and returned change and receipts. Part of it is on display at the Clearfield County Historical Society’s Kerr House Museum.
The late 19th or early 20th century photo shows a huge Christmas display that greeted county shoppers of that time. Hours of meticulous effort and time went into creating Christmas store window displays.
The huge Santa Claus looks to be the old-fashioned “Father Christmas” version that was long ago seen in books and ads. His sleigh looks to be pulled by a single 14-point buck instead of eight tiny reindeer.
Indoor photography was difficult at the time so the reflective glare from bright lights made its way into the photo. The tall, decorated tree looks to be held in place with ropes.
It will be up to GANT News’ readers to find items for sale and other details in the photo!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy and Blessed New Year are extended to all from the Clearfield County Historical Society’s Board of Directors! May 2021 bring us all better times!