Elves at work: Toyland returns to Sibley Building
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A piece of holiday magic has returned to downtown Rochester. The iconic Sibley Toyland that once brought joy to hundreds of kids was brought back to life Friday at the Sibley Building.
The display once spanned a whole floor of the Sibley’s department store. A new version was unveiled Friday at the Sibley Building.
Mrs. Claus was knitting away as the elves were hard at work making toys for Christmas Day. Each and every toy was carefully restored by Ken Green, an employee inside the Sibley Building.
Sibley’s was a massive department store founded in 1868 in Rochester, Its downtown store eventually moved into what we call the Sibley Building, which Green says is the biggest building in Monroe County. He estimates this display is almost 70 years old. It’s been out of commission since Sibley’s closed in 1990.
Green says he passed these guys — the elves and others — for years, collecting dust in the basement, before deciding this year he would do something about it. Green estimated that about 80% of the 40- to 50-piece display is up and running again.
“They had been neglected, they hadn’t been stored accurately, they’d fallen over, limbs had been missing, faces had been smashed, they were filthy, et cetera. And so I started to post works in progress — Instagram, LinkedIn, X — and the responses were overwhelming,” he said.
The display will be up through Jan. 31 and is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you’re walking by downtown, keep an eye out for the animatronics in the windows facing East Main Street.