Type Department store
Location Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Hey, look, everybody! Herpolsheimer's! Herpolsheimer's!"
Know-It-All as the train passes by Herpolsheimer's.

Herpolsheimer's is a department store in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Polar Express

In the beginning of the film, Hero Boy looks at a picture of himself with the store's Santa Claus in which he is ripping his beard off.

Later, the Polar Express passes by the store. Know-It-All is the first to notice it and calls for the other children to come see it. In the store, there is a Christmas display with an animatronic Santa Claus and a tree, as well as a group of reindeer pulling a sleigh through the sky. There is also a lot of presents, to which Know-It-All claims he wants all of them. Hero Girl says that she finds the display beautiful, but Hero Boy smirks when he sees a part of the Santa's mechanical workings.

The book mentions the train passing through towns and villages, but the name Herpolsheimer's is never directly stated.

Real life

The store in the film is based off of a real life department store that used to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the hometown of Chris Van Allsburg. There were two stores in Grand Rapids, as well as one in Wyoming, Michigan, which opened in 1974 after being acquired from Wurzburg's, and another in Muskegon, Michigan. During the Christmas season, the downtown store in Grand Rapids operated a miniature train on a monorail suspended from the ceiling called the "Santa Express."

When the Muskegon Mall was built in 1976, the Herpolsheimer's in Muskegon was assumed into the mall. The store in downtown Grand Rapids was reduced in size and became part of a shopping mall called City Center in 1985 and continued to operate until 1987 after being sold to Federated Department Stores and renamed "Lazarus," along with the other one in Grand Rapids. The miniature train it operated is now at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Grand Rapids, Michigan Grand Rapids, Michigan Hero Boy's House Herpolsheimer's 11344 Edbrooke Avenue
The Polar Express Journey Flat Top Tunnel Glacier Gulch Ice Lake
North Pole North Pole North Pole Square Communications Room Sorting Room

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