Sunday Ads: Big Man on Campus

Written by on September 11, 2016 in Sunday Ads - No comments
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This Sunday ad from 1966 goes after the back to school crowd. Who wouldn't want to dress to impress for the new semester?(Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This Sunday ad from 1966 goes after the back to school crowd. Who wouldn’t want to dress to impress for the new semester? (Image: Indiana State Library)

Business:  Harry Levinson

Date of Ad:  August 18, 1966

Location:  Downtown, Northeast corner of Market and Illinois

Years of Operation: 1905- 1995

Notable: Many can probably still hear the radio jingle “Harry Levinson is the place” in their head to this day. The Indianapolis men’s clothier was the place to stock up on the latest fashions for the preppy set for generations. The business, founded by Harry A. Levinson, specialized in men’s hats when they opened at 37 North Pennsylvania Street in 1905. By the 1920’s the company featured four downtown outlets included their flagship store at the busy intersection of Illinois and Market. The company opened outposts at all of the suburban shopping malls and ballooned to 114 mid-western locations. By the 1990’s, men’s discount retailers took over the market and the company declared bankruptcy. Unable to find a willing buyer, all of the stores closed in 1995.

Additionally:  Harry Levinson reappeared for a brief time in the early 2000’s. They opened a warehouse in the 400 block of south Illinois Street but their primary focus was e-retailing. Unfortunately, the venture proved to be a few years ahead of its time and the Harry was offline by 2002.

This 1938 image shows the downtown flagship store located at Illinois and Market where Market Tower now stands. The store was a few doors south of the Lyric Theater (Courtesy Bass Company photo collection, Indiana Historical Society)

This 1938 image shows the downtown flagship store on the northeast corner of Illinois and Market where Market Tower now stands. The store was a few doors south of the Lyric Theater (Courtesy Bass Company photo collection, Indiana Historical Society)

This matchbook from the 1950s shows the company prided itself on their quality men's hats.(Courtesy eBay)

This matchbook from the 1950s shows the company prided itself on their quality men’s hats.(Image: eBay)

A final farewell to its customers, Harry Levinson closed their remaining stores at the Indianapolis malls in early 1995.(Courtesy Indiana State Library)

A final farewell to its customers, Harry Levinson closed their remaining stores at the Indianapolis malls in early 1995. (Image: Indiana State Library)

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About the Author

An avid runner who enjoys daily jaunts throughout Indy's historic neighborhoods, Jeff deeply appreciates the detail and workmanship of old architecture. So much so, that he lives downtown in a restored historic building. He also works downtown as a manager of a not-for-profit that promotes globalization throughout Central Indiana. In a past life, Jeff worked in the hospitality industry and may one day pen a book about the ridiculous things people do while staying in hotels. Stay tuned.

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