Woodruff Place

woodruff_1910_400x263.jpg

 

Environment

"Touch and tame us with the grace,

 placid calm of Woodruff Place!"

The brainchild of nineteenth century entrepreneur James Orton Woodruff, Woodruff Place is considered the original suburb of Indianapolis. With its broad esplanades, dramatic fountains, and distinctive statuary and urns, the neighborhood recalls Woodruff's dream of creating a European-style grand residential community in a park-like setting.

Boundaries

North:  E. 10th Street

South:  E. Michigan Street

East:  Woodruff Place East Drive

West:  Woodruff Place West Drive 

History

The neighborhood was platted in 1872 and quickly became home to numerous prominent families. Woodruff Place experienced a building boom between 1898 and 1910, resulting in its current potpourri of architectural styles-Victorian, Queen Anne, Eastlake, Edwardian, and Arts and Crafts, among others. Author Booth Tarkington is widely presumed to have based his The Magnificent Ambersons on the lifestyle and citizens of Woodruff Place, and poet James Whitcomb Riley immortalized its charms in his poem "June at Woodruff," quoted in part above. 

As was the case for many urban neighborhoods in Indianapolis, from World War I to the mid-twentieth century was a time of difficulty. Indianapolis had grown to surround Woodruff Place, the high costs of maintaining large homes during the Depression were prohibitive, and after World War II, many returning veterans settled their families away from the city's center. Fortunately for the neighborhood, in the 1970s many active residents sowed the seeds of renewal. Woodruff Place was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and in 2001 committed itself to historic designation as outlined by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Committee. Today's residents find it not only a beautiful place to live, but an active, dynamic, and welcoming place to call home.

Historic Designation

  • National Register of Historic Places -- 1972, and
  • Local designation by IHPC -- 2001.

 

Entryways and Landmarks

  • Trademark fountains - three at the intersections of Cross Drive with West Drive, Middle Drive, and East Drive plus two smaller fountains mid-block on each drive for a total of nine fountains  
  • Vintage statues and urns along all three esplanades
  • Town Hall, community center and rental facility, 735  East Drive (http://www.woodruffplace.org/Town_Hall_Rental_Form.html)
  • Annual Flea Market - first full weekend in June of each year
  • Biennial Homes Tour - last weekend in June in odd numbered years
  • Brandt Steele designed homes at 798 and 811 East Drive           
    (Brandt was the son of famous Indiana artist T. C. Steele)