Fundraising efforts to restore a local downtown landmark have proven to be successful. The Indiana Landmarks Foundation launched a campaign this month to raise $60,000 by Nov. 7 to repair the Ayres clock at the southwest corner of Washington and Meridian streets.
That goal was met this week.
"We hoped to raise $20,000 by November 7 to restore the 10,000-pound clock and create a maintenance fund. Then we discovered that the clock was originally lit from within, and that the bronze case needs repair and cleaning, so we increased our goal. With contributions and pledges, we reached the goal of $60,000 on October 26," the group posted on its website.
The 80-year-old clock will now get the needed repairs and will finally have the correct time.
"We had contributions from 342 people. Everywhere from $2 dollars with a post-it note from someone on a fixed income to $10,000 dollar gifts," says Executive Vice President Tina Connor.
Connor says it was the fastest restoration campaign in the group’s history.
"There have been a lot of heart-warming stories sent in with the contributions. People who made gifts in honor of their parents who met under the clock, or families who had a tradition of meeting under the clock and going to lunch, or people who loved shopping at Ayres," Connor says. "I don't know many other things in Indianapolis that have captured people's hearts in this way."
Arthur Bohn designed the clock in 1936. The bronze, eight-foot-tall clock is positioned nearly 29 feet above the sidewalk and displays the time in four different directions.
Many still call it the Ayres clock, even though the department store has been gone since 1992. The city owns the building, which is incorporated in Circle Centre Mall. Carson Pirie Scott occupies a portion of the old Ayres building.
Indiana Landmarks is working with the city to plan an event next month to unveil the restored clock.