Turret on residence at 1471 North Delaware Street

Turret. Today’s Building Language term should be no stranger to fans of historic architecture in Indianapolis. A turret is defined as a small tower attached to a larger structure, typically found in the corner or at the angle of a building. Although towers on American architecture are a common feature across many styles, the turret will imply a circular form attached to a corner of the primary façade. Turrets will rise above the roof level or the highest story of the structure. A turret may begin at the ground level or cantilever out from an upper story.

Although we see turrets en masse across Indianapolis’ historic housing stock, the term actually has its roots from Medieval era, castle and fortification architecture. A turret found on a castle would be a small tower in comparison to the rest of the structure, attached to the corner of an inner building, and could be topped with a spire. Medieval turrets served a defensive position for the castle, providing a strategic location to fire against attackers.

Turrets in American architecture are most notable to Queen Anne architecture. As wood is frequently the building material of choice for a Queen Anne, the turret will commonly employ wood as a material. Finding examples of turrets in Indianapolis is an easy task and I’ve found two great ones to share today.

The first turret is found on this Queen Anne in the Old Northside in the 1400 block of North Delaware Street. This turret is attached to the south corner of the primary façade and begins on the second story of the structure. The turret rises two stories, which brings it up above the primary roof level. The residence and turret features wood with large window openings. This turret includes a separate conical roof.

Turret on residence on Woodruff Place Middle Drive

Another great turret is found on this residence on the 900 block of Woodruff Place Middle Drive in Woodruff Place. This Queen Anne includes a wood exterior with a wood turret. The turret on this house begins at the ground level and extends up three stories in height. Once again, the turret is topped with a conical roof. This Queen Anne gem features a great design with accent wood shingles on the third story.

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

I snuggled up with a great book in the top story of the turret.

I  only picked two examples to illustrate the turret, but where are some other great ones in Indianapolis? Do you have a favorite?

2 responses to “Building Language: Turret”

  1. Craig says:

    My comment pertains to the home with the turret in the 900 block of Woodruff Place. Long ago the turret had been removed and no one knew that there ever was one until an old lady stopped by a few years back and showed the homeowners old photographs who then went and had a new one built. I’m not sure the angle of the roof is the same as in the old photographs but the house looks great either way.

  2. Terry Shumker says:

    I do enjoy your site and the contributor’s insight of historical Indianapolis. Terry

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