Crews have begun work to return an iconic landmark in downtown Indianapolis to its former glory. The Ayres Clock, which hangs over the southwest corner of Washington and Meridian Streets, is undergoing repairs to its bronze exterior, which had corroded after years of water damage, according to Indiana Landmarks.
The damage was first noticed four years ago when crews worked to repair and replace the inner workings on the timepiece on the clock.
“Once we removed the four clock faces and timekeeping mechanics, we were able to see everything more closely,” said Brose Partington, a local craftsman and artist who’s working on the restoration. “It’s like any piece of bronze that’s outside in the elements. If it’s not cleaned and maintained regularly, it will start to corrode and deteriorate. We’re going to clean it, rewax it and make it so that water doesn’t get back in.”
In 2016, Indiana Landmarks launched a campaign to raise $60,000 to fix the timepiece, which it achieved ahead of schedule. At the time, President Marsh Davis said they would wait to fix the bronze structure.
Now, the new repairs are expected to cost about $65,000. The organization has not launched an official fundraising campaign, but those wishing to donate can do so on the Indiana Landmarks website and noting “Ayres Clock” on the donation form.
The repairs are scheduled to take place weekdays starting at 9 a.m. over a six-week period. They will include updating the electrical system to low-cost LED lights and reinforcing the steel support beams that connect the clock to the building that once housed the L.S. Ayres department store.
“As much as it holds the city’s most beloved clock, that bronze case holds decades of memories,” said Ayres Clock Restoration Project Manager Paul Smith. “We want to ensure it continues to be a city landmark for generations to come.”
Indiana Landmarks hopes to have the project completed before the bronze cherub appears on the clock on Thanksgiving Eve to mark the start of the holiday season.
The 10,000-pound Ayres Clock has been located on the building since 1936.