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!