Skip to Main Content

Sculpture honoring Claude Herbert, heroic department store Santa.
Sculpture honoring Claude Herbert, heroic department store Santa.

Santa's Sacrifice Monument

Field review by the editors.

Terre Haute, Indiana

In 1898, Claude Herbert -- who was only 18 -- was working as a Santa in a department store when it caught fire. He ran from floor to floor, rescuing women and children, before the building collapsed and killed him.

His buddies from the Spanish-American War paid to have a ten-foot-high granite memorial erected to Herbert, with a bronze plaque that did not mention that his heroic act was accomplished in Santa garb.

Shortly afterward, a horse-and-buggy ran into the memorial, so it was moved to the plaza outside Terre Haute City Hall and turned into a fountain. It eventually fell into neglect and was moved into a storage lot. In December 2022 it was restored as a waterless memorial and moved back to its original spot downtown, at the street corner of the former department store.

A new bronze sculpture, "Ascending Soul," was added to the top of the memorial, but it still doesn't mention that Herbert was Santa.

We believe this aspect deserves acknowledgment -- the day when Claude Herbert, in full holiday garb, selflessly gave the greatest of gifts to all he saved, and their families. We call it "Santa's Sacrifice Monument."

Santa's Sacrifice Monument

Address:
22-2 N. 5th St., Terre Haute, IN
Directions:
Downtown, on the northeast corner of N. 5th St. and Wabash Ave.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Larry Bird StatueLarry Bird Statue, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
Stiffy Green the BulldogStiffy Green the Bulldog, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
Birthplace of the Coke Bottle MuralBirthplace of the Coke Bottle Mural, Terre Haute, IN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
World's Largest Wind Chime, Casey, IL - 33 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Indiana

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Indiana.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Indiana Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana (May 20-26, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights