Flint’s Famous Fireplace

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“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there …”

A more recognizable poem may have never been written – 28 rhyming couplets thought by many to have inspired the universally jolly image of Santa Claus we have today.

On December 24, 1822, prominent New York professor and theologian, Clement Clark Moore, wrote the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (known as The Night Before Christmas), which he read to his six children before they were tucked into bed on that Christmas Eve. One envisions Moore sitting next to a beautiful fireplace adorned with Christmas stockings, hurriedly penning the poem and then, snuggling with his family next to a roaring fire to read it. What could make this enduring tale of sugar plums, eight tiny reindeer and a miniature sleigh full of toys more special? How about an interesting connection to Flint?

In fact, the Italian marble fireplace façade from the study in Moore’s Manhattan, NY home has been in Flint for nearly 90 years. In 1931, it was moved to Flint when a local interior designer bought the dark stone fireplace for the original residents of the house at 515 East Street – now home to the Voices for Children (formerly Weiss Advocacy Center.) Although the building’s purpose has changed over the years, the fireplace has remained, and many people have visited the house to take photos with the historical artifact.

Clement Clark Moore was a well-known and respected scholar who thought he would be remembered for his publications related to topics such as religion, languages and politics. But while he didn’t acknowledge writing the “mere trifle” until 15 years after it was published in a newspaper to great acclaim, this work became the author’s singular legacy.

“But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –
‘Happy Christmas to all, and  to all a good night!’”

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