L.S. Ayres Holiday Cherub and All

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Here at the museum, traditional L.S. Ayres holiday windows are on display, as well as the original Santa Claus Express train (kids can ride on a replica) and after Thanksgiving the cherub will even appear on the clock in the exhibit!  You can even buy little cherub ornaments in the Museum Store.

If you’re NOT from Indy, you’ll still appreciate the story of the cherub.  As the story goes, the whimsical Cherub mysteriously appeared atop the clock on Thanksgiving Eve,  1947 to keep a watchful eye on the holiday shoppers until Santa came on Christmas Eve. In the 61 years since, thousands have had the pleasure of seeing the Cherub perched atop the famous clock each holiday season. This powerful tradition lives in the hearts and minds and memories of Indianapolis residents.  What would the holiday season be without those great traditions and memories?

LS Ayres Holiday Window at the Indiana State Museum

LS Ayres Holiday Window at the Indiana State Museum

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4 Responses

  1. Are those manniquins in the photo foreground really be those from the old L. S. Ayres in the 1950s? If so, why doesn’t the Museum even acquire the ones from Blocks Store?

  2. Stephanie, those really are dolls from old L.S. Ayres Christmas windows, but not from the 1950’s…more likely from the 80’s. The window, just like the L.S. Ayres Tea Room, is filled with artifacts from the Indiana State Museum collection. I don’t believe we have any objects from Blocks at this time.

  3. I remember that as a child in Indianapolis, our Thanksgiving evenings were never complete after our Thanksgiving Dinner until we all got in the car after dark to visit the newly unveiled Christmas windows at L. S. Ayres on the Circle. I remember it as cold and some years we even had snow! I The next day my Mother would bundle my brother and I up for the Christmas parade downtown and a lunch at the L. S. Ayres Tearoom–finally a ride on the Christmas Train and a visit with Santa!! I was born in the 50’s and I have such great memories of it all. All those lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas memories!

  4. L.S. Ayres and Company came into being in 1872 when Lyman S. Ayres of Geneva, New York, purchased controlling interest in the Trade Palace, a dry and fancy goods establishment operated by N.R. Smith at 26-28 West Washington Street in Indianapolis. The fashionable dry goods store changed the name on its exterior signboard from N.R. Smith and Company to N.R. Smith and Ayres. Lyman Ayres remained in Geneva and served as senior partner and New York resident buyer for the store. In 1874, Ayres assumed full ownership of the Trade Palace. The following year Lyman Ayres relocated to Indianapolis and moved the store’s location from the old Trade Palace building across the street to a three storied structure at 33-37 West Washington Street. The operation continued to be a seller of “dry and fancy goods.” The addition of modern shopping conveniences such as gas lighting in 1876 and an elevator in 1890 increased the store’s reputation.

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