Delaware, Ohio is no stranger when it comes to Hollywood talent.
Underneath all the hamburger joints, coffee shops, and afternoon traffic, a brilliant movie director lies beneath Delaware’s enriched history
In the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, director’s Vincente Minnelli’s childhood memories of his grandparents’ house in Delaware was the inspiration for the house in the movie. Meet Me in St Louis tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair in 1904.
Vincente Minnelli was an American stage and film director who settled in Delaware, Ohio and died in the city in 1986. He attended fourth grade through high school in Delaware and then left town after graduation. His grandmother, Nina Pickett Minnelli lived in the home, which is located on 311 N. Washington Street. Nina served as an instructor of vocal culture at the Ohio Wesleyan Female College during the in the 1870s. Meanwhile, Minnelli’s grandfather, Vincenzo Minnelli, was a pianist and is said to have taught music at Ohio Wesleyan.
Minnelli had a fifty year career, which began with him designing for the Broadway theater right before moving on to Hollywood fame. Minnelli was the husband of Judy Garland, who starred in the movie Meet Me In St. Louis, and the father of Liza Minnelli. As well as movie musicals, Minnelli also successfully directed dramatic and comedic films and movies. He directed seven different actors in Oscar-nominated performances throughout his career and he even won a Best Director Oscar for ‘Gigi’ in 1958.
Minnelli’s first job in theater was at the Chicago Theatre, where he served as a costume and set designer. He soon left Chicago and rented a tiny Greenwich Village apartment. He was eventually employed at Radio City Music Hall shortly following its 1932 opening as a set designer and worked his way up to stage director.
The house on 311 N. Washington was dedicated with a historic marker on May 17, 2008. Pretty fascinating, eh?
Perhaps this weekend you could give the movie a try? Or, if you have seen it already, what do you think of it?