Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society, L. S. Ayres and Company Records, 22 November 1947
The L. S. Ayres cherub, one of the city’s most beloved little sculptures, makes its appearance every Thanksgiving eve and looks out over shoppers until Christmas.
The sculpture has its roots in drawings created for the 1946 catalog of L. S. Ayres, the city’s premier department store. Advertising artist Virginia Holmes used angel illustrations to fill space in the somewhat sparse, post-war catalog and they became a hit. With their 75th anniversary approaching in 1947, the store commissioned sculptor and Herron School of Art instructor David Rubens to create the thirty-six inch tall bronze sculpture. Employees unceremoniously placed the cherub upon their well-known clock at the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets on the day before Thanksgiving in 1947 and created a sensation. Through the years, generations of residents visited downtown during the holidays to enjoy the store’s decorated Christmas windows and take a peek at the angel, especially since it was a tradition for shoppers to “meet under the Ayres’ clock.”
North Meridian Street & East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204