INDIANAPOLIS — COVID has wreaked havoc on many Indianapolis traditional events this year, but COVID will not stop the Cherub from appearing atop the L.S. Ayres clock at Washington and Meridian Streets.
That was the word Wednesday from Downtown Indy, Inc., the Cherub’s legal guardian since Ayres left the Indianapolis retail scene.
In recent months, workmen have been making repairs to the clock so it could be ready for the holiday season.
The history of the Cherub is a long one, according to Downtown Indy, Inc.
It was 1946. World War II just ended and thousands returned home from military service. Among them was Virginia Holmes, a prize-winning commercial artist who came to Indianapolis to start her career in the advertising department at downtown department store, L.S. Ayres. When it came time to compose the stores 1946 holiday catalog, merchandise was in short supply. To fill the empty pages, Holmes created whimsical cherubs. The cherubs captured hearts and began an Indianapolis holiday tradition that continues today.
The following year, Ayres’ 75th anniversary, called for a special addition to the store’s holiday plans. Not only did Ayres perpetuate the cherub’s appearance in their 1947 holiday advertising, but they also commissioned nationally recognized Indianapolis sculptor and Herron School of Art instructor, David Rubins to create a bronze cherub. The Cherub was to be placed on the store’s landmark clock, located on the outside of their building on the corner of Washington and Meridian streets.
As legend has it, the whimsical Cherub mysteriously appeared above the clock on Thanksgiving Eve 1947 to keep a watchful eye on the holiday shoppers until Santa took over on Christmas Eve. In the 73 years since, thousands have had the pleasure of seeing the Cherub perched atop the famous clock outside Circle Centre Mall each holiday season. This tradition lives in the memories of a city and its grateful citizens.