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Cherub returns to L.S. Ayres clock downtown, signals start of holiday season

The cherub has returned to the clock on Thanksgiving morning every year since 1947.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Thousands of traditionalists know the holiday shopping season has begun because the L.S. Ayres cherub has once again appeared atop the clock on the corner of Meridian and Washington Streets.

The now legendary cherub has kept a watchful eye on downtown holiday shoppers from Thanksgiving through Christmas since 1947.

RELATED: L.S. Ayres clock gets repaired, features faces that replicate 1936 originals.

The cherub was designed by Virginia Holmes, a prize-winning artist who came back to Indianapolis after World War II to work in the advertising department at the downtown L.S. Ayres department store.

Holmes created cherubs to fill pages in store's annual Christmas catalogue. Customers liked the cherubs enough for Ayres to bring them back in their 1947 holiday advertising.

At the time, Ayres commissioned Indianapolis sculptor and Herron School of Art instructor David Rubins to create the bronze cherub for the store's landmark clock, located on the outside of their building on the corner of Washington and Meridian streets.

The Ayres chain was eventually absorbed by Macy's and moved out of downtown during the Circle Centre Mall project, so the City of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. are now caretakers for the cherub.

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