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The angel has landed!
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The angel has landed!

December 02, 2013 | 10:55 AM

As a kid, I remember pouring through three dimensional department store catalogues during the holiday season. Not to date myself, but this activity was accomplished while sitting on a groovy bean bag chair upon an orange shag carpet next to a television that had exactly three channels. One of my favorite books to browse was the L.S. Ayres (now Carson's) catalogue.

Back in 1946 after World War II had ended, retail merchandise was in short supply and there was a great deal of empty space in the catalogue. The Ayres staff artists responded by creating whimsical cherubs and placing them throughout the pages. These cherubs captured hearts and began an Indianapolis holiday tradition that continues today.

The following year was Ayres' 75th Anniversary, and a bronze cherub was commissioned from a talented, local Herron School of Art instructor named David Rubins. The cherub was placed on top of the store's landmark clock on the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets to keep a watchful eye on shoppers until Christmas Eve and signal the beginning of the holiday season Indianapolis.

The May Department Store Company purchased L.S. Ayres in 1986 and in 1992, moved the now famous cherub to its headquarters in Missouri. The citizens of Indianapolis were extremely upset when the angel did not appear for the holidays that year. In 1994, May graciously donated the cherub to the City of Indianapolis.

In the 66 years since the cherub was cast, thousands have had the pleasure of seeing it perched atop the famous clock each holiday season. This tradition lives in the hearts, minds and memories of Indianapolis residents.

So keep an eye out when you visit downtown this month. A sweet, smiling someone will be watching over you!

Also, The Indianapolis State Museum gift shop has L.S. Ayres cherub pins available this year. These make memorable gifts!

-Wendy S.


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