Magazine touts Woodruff Place

June 24, 2009
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Woodruff Place homeThe magazine This Old House has named Indy's Woodruff Place as one of the country's 51 best places to buy an old home. The neighborhood about a mile east of downtown took top honors for the Midwest. "Take a walk around town and you'll see broad boulevards, decorative fountains and urns, and statues surrounded by magnolia and oak trees. The inspiration for Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons, Woodruff Place is a quintessential Midwestern town..." the magazine says. "The stately homes in Woodruff Place were built for the elite but are now available at moderate prices." Home styles in the neighborhood, founded in 1872, include Eastlakes, Stick Victorians, Queen Annes, Georgian Revivals, English Tudors, Bungalows, American Foursquares and Colonial Revivals. Check out the full story here. (Photo: This Old House)
  • That's great news for Indy and Woodruff Place. It's definitely charming and a unique part of the city.

    But like other parts of downtown, it's a good area that's potentially ruined by an extremely unsightly (women's) prison right across the street.

    It would be a great boon to the entire east side if the prison were relocated to a less-residential area.

    Just wishful thinking. :-)
  • Good for the City - but definitely driven by the four different publicly funded and two privately funded redevelopment efforts in that 'Super Bowl' area (see Arsenal Tech practice facility, St. Clair Place, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program). I like the attention and that neighborhood needs it, but others do as well and I hope the distribution of support continues to spread to other areas.
  • Just wait, the women's prison is going to become the New Men's and Women's work release in the near future. DOC is waiting after the crooks and thieves get done, so they can't stop it. That will mix things up...
  • Hear, Hear on the Women's prison. If the NFL really wants to leave a legacy on the Eastside, then move the Women's prison to Elkhart County where they desparately need jobs, and construct the second NFL practice facility on the current Women's prison grounds. It's a mere stone's throw from the Tech High School campus.
  • The women's prison and the county jail should both be moved to the former airport site. Easy access, out of sight.
  • I agree that it would be a win-win to relocate the Indiana Women's Prison. Other communities need jobs worse than Indianapolis (though obviously the current employees of the prison would not agree), which has outperformed the state economically. Prisons are a known rural econdev instrument. And Indy needs that east side land cleaned up and made available for development.

    Great to see the props for Woodruff Place
  • There's a new pizza/entertainment place coming soon to indy
  • Cory, what happened to the 500 Walnut proposal? It was supposed to be located right off of the Cultural Trail. Was this another victim of the recession?
  • Julie: I wrote about Incredible here:
  • I drove by the lot for 500 Walnut on Saturday........there had been some bulldozer and some light earth moving. It looks like it's still a go.
  • I walked by there this's being used to stage sewer pipe for the Cultural Trail construction project, but the project sign is still on the corner.
  • I don't think enough is made of Woodruff Place's direct reference in Tarkington's novel The Magnificent Ambersons. The book has definitely faded in prominence since its publication in 1900, but it was a landmark at the time, and it remains one of the best observed allegories for Industrial Revolution-era urbanization. It also was translated to film in what many scholars consider Orson Welles' second best movie, behind Citizen Kane; though the producers supposedly hacked away at his version of Ambersons, it remains a powerful production. Wasn't it considered a few years back for the One Book-One City campaign?
  • The idea that Woodruff Place was in the Tarkington book seemed strange to me because i had always thought of what we call the Old Northside as being the native habitat of the Ambersons. So I went back to the library and leafed through the book again, yes it's clear that Woodruff Place is the setting of much of the book, but to say it is a direct reference is not quite correct as the book refers to it as the Amberson Addition and also National Avenue in the book was clearly Washington Street.

    The book remains a good study of social change in Indianapolis, we are in need of a sequel for today's world because we are still questioning the future of an automobile driven society.

    Booth Tarkington's house is still there on Meridian Street, I think a little north of 42nd St., on the west side of Meridian. There is a plaque on the brick gate in front that says Booth Tarkington House or something like that.

    I think the movie didn't work because it was too intellectual for the public taste. The movie has good points but rather than sit through the whole movie I'd recommend reading the book first.

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