Woodruff Place

Woodruff Place- you should visit every season! (photo: Tiffany Benedict Browne)

One week from tomorrow, one of Indy’s keystone historic neighborhoods throws open many a door of hospitality, showcasing the beauty and variety of Woodruff Place. Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 12-5, see one of seven homes, three gardens and the restored old Town Hall in the Woodruff Place semi-anual Home and Garden Tour.


Look to see if you recognize any of these while in Woodruff (courtesy Lloyd-Jones Family)

Dear Woodruff, always a go-to destination for visitors to Indianapolis–showing variety of style, scale and levels of restoration. Remnants of yesteryear: fountains, statues, a petite gazebo–all tickle the imagination.

Originally purchased and platted in the early 1870’s, the park-like neighborhood was the vision of James O. Woodruff, who didn’t make the money he’d anticipated by the speculations here. Between the $5000 per lot he was initially charging and the big price-tag commanded by famed Chicago architect, William LeBaron Jenney, who constructed the extravagant 17-room English style home at the corner of West and Cross Drives, Woodruff filed bankruptcy. In the early 1890’s, the home sold for a mere $10,000.

James Woodruff's home

Upper Left: former home (designed by William LeBaron Jenney) of James Woodruff, and various interior views.

It’s hard to believe this was once a ‘town within a town,’ managed by a board of trustees, elected from each ward–West Drive being the 1st Ward, Middle, the 2nd Ward and East Drive the 3rd Ward. The place was also an inspiration to Booth Tarkington in part for “The Magnificent Ambersons.”

James Woodruff Home

More interior views of James Woodruff Home in Woodruff Place


Anyone know when this fella disappeared? (courtesy Lloyd-Jones Family)

Even the  Feast of Lanterns  (save the date, August 13, 2013) started in Woodruff Place over 100 years ago. In 1906 (though not the first Feast), there were more than 12,000 visitors to the event, much like the attendance at today’s Woodruff Place Flea Market, or–dreaming big–perhaps for the Home Tour?