Summer in Woodruff

It is nearly impossible to think about the warmer seasons in Woodruff Place without evoking images of sparkling fountains and lush greenery.

Debbie Pidgeon recently shared some relevant information that came as a surprise to me. It turns out I have unintentionally committed offences against our fountains numerous times. Despite my embarrassment I thought I would share a few “fun facts” about two of the most treasured characteristics of Summer in Woodruff Place.

“A team of neighbors keep the fountains operational and put a lot of effort into making them beautiful for all to see. The fountains are not treated or protected areas for swimming or playing, and it’s against the law to get into the fountains. Unfortunately, broken glass has been found in fountains before.”

Whether you have been tempted to wade into the fountains or encouraged a little one to do so, you can now rest assured that such activity is, in fact, illegal and potentially dangerous. All the more reason to make friends with certain neighbors who have pools.

While we are all aware that the beautiful state of our neighborhood is no accident, I thought it would be interesting to share these facts about our trees and the expensive and laborious efforts made to ensure the lushness lives on.

According to Debbie Pidgeon, 146 trees were planted in Woodruff Place between 2007-2010 in collaboration with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

2007: 40 on Cross Drive
2008: 31 on Middle Drive
2009: 21 on East Drive and 27 on West Drive
2010: 27 on East Drive alley/Tecumseh St.

Ash tree treatment
“In 2013 the Historic Woodruff Place Foundation and the Civic League Board launched a years-long effort to protect the neighborhood’s large Ash Trees from the Emerald Ash Borer – an aggressive invasive insect that has decimated Ash Tree populations throughout the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. To date 52 trees in the common areas of Woodruff Place have been saved but their survival depends from a continued commitment to retreat them every two years for the next 8 to 10 years. The cost of the most recent treatment cycle (2017) was nearly $8,500.”

There you have it – a few more  examples of the intention behind the timeless Woodruff Aesthetic we all love. For more information about how you can contribute to the endless beautification efforts take a look at

Casino Woodruff 2018

The Historic Woodruff Place Foundation held a successful “Casino Night” fundraiser in February. What started many years ago as a friendly Bingo Night to cure the Winter doldrums, has evolved into a Woodruff Casino that rivals the Bellagio! Some say our fountains are better. Neighbors and friends bought chips, gambled, imbibed, and used their winnings to bid on silent auction items. If you missed it this year, the theme was Mardi Gras. Everyone left with beads, and they got to keep their clothes on. Cajun style food and drinks were served, and many participants dressed in colorful Mardi Gras outfits.

We’d like to thank all the mostly downtown businesses who supported us with gift certificates and other goodies for the silent auction. Special shout out to MacNivens, Mass Ave Pub, and The Cosmic Chrome Café for their significant donations.

Woodruff Casino is part of our biennial fundraising efforts for our non-profit foundation. This year, our other major fundraiser will be the Progressive Dinner in December. We alternate Woodruff Casino and Progressive Dinner with the Home Tour every other year. Stay tuned for our next Casino Night in early 2020!

Woodruff Place Yarners

Originally to be named “ Nasty Women Yarning – Indy”, founder Valerie DeWeese decided to make room for men, though none have taken her up on the offer yet. The group meets every other Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm at 967 East Drive. Bring your favorite yarn and a project and be ready to chat with some of the neighborhood’s favorite nasty women. Pictured left to right: Valerie DeWeese, Julie Tornquist, Theo Tornquist, Debbie Pidgeon, and Jean Hayes.

Young Leaders Put on a Show

Saturday, January 20th was a festive day at Town Hall. One of our veteran volunteers and general mover and shaker, Debbie Pidgeon, created and spearheaded the first Kids Talent Show. “ I wanted to give our kids the chance to experience what it is like to be up on a stage and engage in public speaking. The more opportunities they have to practice when they are young the more comfortable they will be as adults”.
The talent demonstrations ranged from a magician to a show-stopping vocal and pink air-guitar performance. The talent did not stop with the performers. The two youth MCs offered their humor and speaking abilities as they seamlessly guided the audience through the show with grace and humor. Pictured are the youth participants.

Emcees: Paula Hopkins and Peter Certo
Lucy Certo, 8
Marion McConnell, 7
Owen Pritchard, 7
Caroline Smith, 5
Sophia Pidgeon, 6
Kate Certo, 6
Vera McConnell, 9
Sheridan Newcomb, 7

Woodruff Place 101

Woodruff Place 101
I had the pleasure of sitting down with our new Civic League President, Matt Belsaas in January. I was one of the first people to take advantage of the weekly office hours he is now offering to any Woodruffian who wants to get more involved. As I am relatively new as a Woodruff resident and Urban Times contributor – a great excuse to publish a short guide for getting involved in the neighborhood. In months to come I will continue to highlight information that could help current and future active residents contribute to the neighborhood initiatives.

Every year the neighborhood is responsible for raising around $100,000 to support the neighborhood financial goals and to ensure that our esplanades and Town Hall are looking great and contributing to the Woodruff experience. The following is a list of regularly occurring fundraising events you can participate in.

● Flea Market
● Bi-annual home and garden tour
● Progressive Dinner
● Casino Woodruff

There are many more fundraising initiatives taking place year round, however, if you don’t know much about that you can start by attending one of these fun events lovingly facilitated but our rockstar volunteers. For complete information about fundraising and an organizational break down you can visit

Holidays at Woodruff Place
The first 4th of July I spent with the Woodruff gang was in 2014. I was immediately impressed by the umbrella wielding and lawn chair flaunting that commenced through our streets. The kids were cute too, vying for age group category awards for most festive and patriotic attire and hardware in the parade. The Fountains themselves tell the story of changing seasons and neighborhood caroling is known to take place each year. For our young residents we put on a Halloween party and Easter egg hunt. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to plan and execute these fine experiences. Debbie Pidgeon would be a great person to talk to if you want to get involved.

Leaders in Training
If you have young people in your house and would like to instill leadership principles and practice at a young age, you are in good company in this neighborhood. There are virtually endless volunteer opportunities from various fundraiser, cleanups, and other neighborhood initiatives and their facilitators that would gladly utilize the skills and enthusiasm of your young leaders-in-training.

Town Hall Rental
The Woodruff Place Town Hall is available for members to rent for meetings and social functions. This is a fundraising line item, so booking your event is a patriotic thing to do. The space really lends itself to any event that has outgrown your dining and living room. Please visit for rental information.

Woodrufff Place Website
If you have any questions about who to talk to or want to read bylaws and know event dates, you will likely find your answer on our website,

Where any two or more Woodruffians gather…
Shortly after moving to the neighborhood in 2014 two things became evident to me and my family.

1. Woodruff Residents are leaders
It takes commitment and enthusiasm to sustain the extracurricular activities that uphold the state of Woodruff grounds and bank accounts. The weekly, monthly, and annual activities in the neigborhood are designed and delivered by leaders who are willing to do what is required of them and more to ensure our neighborhood operates and innovates for the greater good of our residents.

2. When two or more Woodruffians gather there will be libations
The traveling keg on the 4th of July, the porch parties, the Town Hall meetings – corks and tabs pop year round. Cheers!

If you want to get more involved with neighborhood happenings and don’t know where to start, I would recommend scheduling your office hours session with Civic League President Matt Belsaas on Thursdays between 12-1pm. You can email him at to set that up.

For future neighborhood Urban Times stories and contributions please contact Emily Tornquist