Historic Woodruff Place Foundation: Indianapolis History

The Historic Woodruff Place Foundation is an Indianapolis nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Woodruff Place neighborhood. This neighborhood, located East of Indianapolis downtown, is an important part of Indianapolis history.

The layout of the Historic Woodruff Place was planned in 1872 and 1873, by James O. Woodruff. He planned the neighborhood as an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the heart of the Circle City. Woodruff wanted to create a place where wealthy Indianapolis business owners and other people could build their own haven for peace and quite. He envisioned a place where people could get away from the chaos of Meridian Street.

The neighborhood certainly is a kind of oasis. With three main boulevards bisected by a Cross Drive where a multi tiered fountains rest, serenity is second nature at Woodruff Place. Each road in the neighborhood has wide grassy medians planted with flowers and bushes to give the neighborhood a sense of the land on which the city was laid. Statues and urns are hidden throughout, making for an enchanting effect.

By 1873, this park like neighborhood was finally becoming what Woodruff envisioned. Famous families like Colonel Eli Lilly, of Eli Lilly and Company, began to call Woodruff Place home. Over time, many Indianapolis people made their mark on the neighborhood by building various types of houses. The neighborhood began to take on the feel of an architectural tour through time. With styles of houses ranging from Edwardian classic to bungalows American colonial, the neighborhood had and still has a majestic feel.


Over the next century, as Indy began to slump into economic decline, the grand neighborhood fell into disrepair. The once beautiful architectural masterpieces were now abandoned. The grassy medians were overgrown. The only remaining residents were the statues that lurked in the shadows. Through the turmoil of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, Woodruff Place neighborhood was roughed up.

However, in recent history, the Indianapolis Preservation Commission declared Woodruff Place an Indianapolis historic site. With protection from the city, residents began to repopulate the neighborhood breathing new life into the once grand village. The Historic Woodruff Place Foundation was created with the charge to help residents improve their houses and the neighborhood.

The Historic Woodruff Place Foundation does more than just restoration work. They work with the Woodruff Place Civic League to bring a community together in a way that is singularly Hoosier. They raise money to help with “fixer uppers,” host community events like Halloween parties and a neighborhood wide rummage sale. Finally, Indianapolis children are romping through the streets and jumping in the fountains once more.

For a fun day trip in Indianapolis, take a walk through Historic Woodruff Place. Soak up the history and the atmosphere. For more information about how you can become a part of the Woodruff Place community, check out real estate in Indianapolis or go here. Find out how you can get in on the fun!