The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

In exploring a local newspaper from 100 years ago, one thing seems obvious: not much has changed. Oh sure, the photographic and type styles are different, and the vocabulary varies a little. But, we appear to find the same things interesting as did our counterparts of the early 20th century: feats of sporting heroism, sage advice, the newest gadgets, the most audacious tragedies, obituaries, personals, foreign wars, local society… and of course, commerce.

Please enjoy some of these New Year’s Day advertisements from the 1915 Indianapolis Star and let the links within the descriptions take you back in time on this cold winter’s day…


Can you think of anything better on a cold New Year’s day than to spend it with a friend at the local theater? In 1915 you had your choice of B.F. Keith Grand Opera House, the English Hotel and Opera House, the Murat, Ona Talbot Enterprises, the Lyceum, the Majestic or the Lyric Theater.


Merchants wished their customers a happy and (prosperous new) year and played upon their resolutions in the hopes of enhanced business prospects, no doubt. (Note in the top ad, the mention of the Herron Art Institute, a location and name that is still well known in Indianapolis, though Morrison’s and Lieber’s are long gone.)


Apparently the “January Clearance Sale” is not a new phenomenon. L.S. Ayres & Co. was an important and long-surviving Indianapolis institution.


The Rink, Eberhardt, Jaffe and Burton businesses have faded from memory. Occasionally a Krauss jewelry piece, coin, or post card will come up for auction on eBay (see below) but the J.C. Sipe company survives to today — using the same motto, If you have the girl, we have the ring.



Though The When, Pearson’s Piano, and the offices of Dr. Carl J. Klaiber were long ago dissolved, Charles Mayer & Company is still in the business of wishing their customers a happy ’15!


One notable change from 1915 to 2015: the state of transportation.

 Tell us in the comment box below, what are your favorite long-lost Indianapolis businesses?

 Have a happy and safe New Year, Indy friends!



5 responses to “Sunday Adverts: Happy New Year 1915”

  1. Dana Hubbard says:

    Places I’d love to walk through again; Graham electronics on south Penn was awesome. so was Sack’s Bros on Indiana and Cap, great music store. Many old music stores in the area of Indiana Ave that only Musician’s Repair remains. Lyric record store on Illinois by the theater, I bought a mono Pet Sounds there. You give them the sleeve and they hand you the record to listen to in a booth in the back. Harlan Bros on Cap or Illinois, i cant remember, invented the pedal steel guitar. Indiana music on E Ohio east of Joseph’s was kinda cool in the day. Did you notice the Marx Bros at Keith’s? cool.

  2. Basil Berchekas Jr says:

    I remember, as late as 1968, two trains in Union Station operated by the Penn Central (the former New York Central portion; New York Central acquired the “Big Four”) leaving at approximately the same time for Saint Louis and for Chicago; rode both of them several times; they left 5 minutes apart.

  3. Joyce Bradley says:

    Dana Hubbard, thanks for confirming my memory of the Lyric record store and the listening booth in the back. I became a resident of Indianapolis in 1967 and worked downtown….going in that shop was an early memory of living in the “big city.” . I grew up in a small Indiana town where such stores did not exist.

  4. Joyce Bradley says:

    Thank you to the author of this article. I’ve enjoyed it a lot!
    I fantasize about living in the day of train travel. I wasn’t aware that our Horse Wagons needed covers!

  5. Donna Winsted says:

    Great article and nice to see many of those old businesses still operating! Some of the ones I miss are:

    Liebers – I worked there for a while in the 1950s, printing photos.
    Lymons art gallery and frame shop
    The Starr Store
    Penney’s on the Circle
    Sam’s Subway
    …and so many more whose names I can no longer remember! There was a wonderful restaurant in the building on the northeast corner of Capitol and Market Sts. It was also a deli. It may have been Miller’s.

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