'Home Alone' house
Aug. 26 was Macaulay Culkin's 30th birthday, but many people still think of him as the pint-sized protagonist of 'Home Alone,' released just before Thanksgiving in 1990. The "family comedy without the family" (its tagline) proved hugely popular, monopolizing the No. 1 position at the box office for 12 weeks and at one point becoming the highest grossing comedy of all time. Written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, the movie would spawn three sequels, the last a 2002 TV movie.

In the original film, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Culkin) is accidentally left behind by the rest of his family when they leave their home in suburban Chicago for a Christmas vacation in Paris. In their absence, he relishes his freedom before discovering that his neighborhood is being targeted by idiotic burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin defends his house by laying various booby-traps -- resulting in the movie's funniest (and most violent!) scenes -- and ultimately helps bring the criminals to justice. Meanwhile, his mom (Catherine O'Hara) eventually makes it back to Chicago with the help of a polka band leader (John Candy).
'Home Alone' house
Aug. 26 was Macaulay Culkin's 30th birthday, but many people still think of him as the pint-sized protagonist of 'Home Alone,' released just before Thanksgiving in 1990. The "family comedy without the family" (its tagline) proved hugely popular, monopolizing the No. 1 position at the box office for 12 weeks and at one point becoming the highest grossing comedy of all time. Written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, the movie would spawn three sequels, the last a 2002 TV movie.

In the original film, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Culkin) is accidentally left behind by the rest of his family when they leave their home in suburban Chicago for a Christmas vacation in Paris. In their absence, he relishes his freedom before discovering that his neighborhood is being targeted by idiotic burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin defends his house by laying various booby-traps -- resulting in the movie's funniest (and most violent!) scenes -- and ultimately helps bring the criminals to justice. Meanwhile, his mom (Catherine O'Hara) eventually makes it back to Chicago with the help of a polka band leader (John Candy).

'Home Alone' posterLocation as Character: The photogenic house, built in 1920, gets almost as much screen time as Macaulay. For the McCallister residence, the filmmakers specifically wanted a red brick Georgian style house with a central staircase, and 671 Lincoln Avenue in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka fit the bill. All exteriors and some interior shots -- including the kitchen, main staircase (which Kevin sleds down) and windowed first-floor landing -- are of the actual house. The movie home's cheerful decor, however, was not original. According to the Chicago Tribune, owners Cynthia and John Abendshien had just finished redecorating the house when it was taken over by the production team, who papered over the walls, among other things. "They used a lot of red and green colors to give it a holiday feeling," said Mrs. Abendshien. "My colors are much more muted." Kevin's backyard tree house, built specially for the movie, was torn down after filming.


Historical Significance: Affluent and attractive Winnetka has hosted scenes from several Hughes films, including 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' 'Uncle Buck,' 'Sixteen Candles,' and 'She's Having a Baby,' as well as 'Ocean's 12.' Owing to the popularity of 'Home Alone,' 671 Lincoln is a local tourist destination, which hasn't been too annoying for the owners. "Most of the people who come by are very respectful," Mrs. Abendshien has noted. The house, which was also used for the beginning of 'Home Alone 2,' has been owned by the same family since 1988.

'Home Alone'Fun Fact: Near the end of the movie, Kevin takes refuge in the flooded basement of a neighbor's house that's also victim to the burglars. The scene was actually shot in the swimming pool of Winnetka's New Trier High School. The school's huge gymnasium housed several other 'Home Alone' sets including a replica of 671 Lincoln Avenue's basement.

Directions:
By car from Chicago O'Hare Airport (approximately 19 miles): Merge onto I-190 E; merge onto I-294 N via Exit 1C toward Milwaukee; take the Willow Road exit; take the ramp toward Glenview/Northbrook; merge onto Willow Road; turn left onto Birch Street; turn right onto Pine Street; turn left onto Lincoln Avenue; 671 Lincoln is on the right.

By rail: Metra (Union Pacific North line) to Winnetka from Ogilvie Transportation Center (Chicago)

Visitor Info:
Though the home's owners are accustomed to curious movie fans by now (and are, from all reports, very gracious people), it is a private residence.
CATEGORIES On the Scene