photo from the Onondaga Historical Association collection
One of my favorite memories of Christmas was taking the bus to downtown Syracuse with my parents when they went to do their Christmas shopping. The streets and stores were festively decorated and my sister and I knew that at some point we would make that special visit to the E.W. Edwards and Sons Department Store Toyland.
Toyland at Edwards wasn't just the toy department where we would visit with Santa Claus to tell him that we had been good all year and to ask him to bring us what we wanted for Christmas. It was more than that. It was a magical place where we got to take a ride on the Rocket Ship - the monorail that took us on an exciting journey, circling above Toyland. Other than Christmas morning, this was the highlight of the holiday season!
Sadly, E.W. Edwards was demolished in 1972 and the rest of the big department stores have also disappeared over time but I will always have fond memories of the downtown Syracuse of my childhood, especially at Christmas.
I went searching online and found more photos of the monorail.
Here's an ad for the Toyland Rocket Ship.
And here is what downtown Syracuse looked like on December 23, 1963.