The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on December 18, 2016 · Page A3
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page A3

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Page A3
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Can you imagine the looks of delight on the faces of the Christmas travelers, young and old, who rolled into Union Station that holiday season in 1949? Who should greet them but Santa Colossal, the world’s largest Santa Claus. This giant replica of old St. Nick stood 54 feet tall and weighed 4 tons, complete with 400 parts. Santa’s body parts were transported in four railroad boxcars from Beaverton, Mich., where they were carved out of Styrofoam — a material used for fireproofing and insulating. A crew of 15 steeplejacks and 30 other workmen constructed Mr. Claus in the grand concourse of the station. The workmen all wore redso they could be found in the event of an avalanche. And the jolly ol’ guy had a voice. He sang special recordings prepared by Spike Jones, Sammy Kaye and Perry Como. His recordings also included some statistics about his construction. The yuletide project was the brainchild of the Indianapolis Industrial Exposition. The exhibit was co-sponsored by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce with the cooperation of the Indianapolis Union (Belt) Railway. There was no profit motive involved with the display. Its only purpose was to make Santa as real to adults as he is to children. Sadly, 1949 was the only year that Santa Colossal made his Union Station appearance. Attempts were made to find a permanent home for the king-sized Santa, but lack of storage space and the great amount of work involved in taking apart and putting Santa back together made it impossible to house him for future Christmases. In January 1950, he was cut into pieces and repurposed for insulation. RETRO INDY 1949: The year of Santa Colossal Union Station home for a season to world’s largest St. Nick, which took dozens of workers to build Cathy Knapp IndyStar correspondent PROVIDED BY INDIANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY The 54-foot “Santa Colossal” dominates Union Station’s grand concourse in 1949. INDY STAR E1 SUNDAY,DECEMBER18, 2016 3A Don’tgothruanotherwinterwithan OLDANDDAMAGEDROOF ServicesforResidential&CommercialCustomersinIndianapolis,IN&Beyond •Roofing •AtticInsulation •StormDamageRestoration SameDayAppointments.JobsCompletedInOneDay. CALL 317-550-1931 FinancingAvailable FREE AtticInsulationwith NewRoofPurchase (Valueof$500) 317-550-1931 Cannotbecombinedwithanyotheroffer.Mustpresentcouponat timeofpurchase.Callfordetails.Expires12/31/16. REPLACEITNOW WHILETHEREISSTILLTIME! 12MONTHSNOINTEREST,NOPAYMENTS DUEUNTILOCTOBEROF2017! IS-0000079402

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