Hotel & History
Although our hotel has not always been called the Historic Canterbury Hotel, its tradition as the grandest of Indianapolis hotels dates back to the 1850s.
The Canterbury Hotel's History
Prominent Indiana architect Francis Costigan, designer of the Lanier Mansion and other historic homes at Madison, built a hotel at The Canterbury site in 1858. Costigan, who also was architect of Christ Church and the long-gone Bates House in Indianapolis, designed, built, and operated the four-story stucco-ornamented Oriental Hotel on the Northeast corner of Illinois and Chesapeake Streets. Its name was later changed to the Mason House and then to the Oxford Hotel.
In 1928, Costigan's hotel was torn down to make room for a 12-story, 200-room hotel called the Lockerbie, built by the Illinois and Chesapeake Realty Company headed by Samuel and Julius Falender and banker Otto Meyer. The Lockerbie, whose architect was Bennett Kay, cost nearly $650,000 fully equipped and furnished. Each of its 200 rooms had a tile bath and “a radio receiving set”. The same structure that still stands today, it was built of reinforced concrete faced with brick and trimmed in terra cotta.
The hotel was operated by the Lockerbie Hotel Company, whose incorporates were Samuel and Arch Falender and architect Kay. The company's 15-year lease specified an annual rental of $60,000.
In 1936, hotelier Glenn F. Warren, who had interests in Chicago and also owned and operated the Harrison Hotel at 51 North Capitol, took a 15-year lease on the Lockerbie. Warren soon changed the name of the hotel to the Warren, under which banner it operated until November 1973.
In May 1983, the property was purchased by Indianapolis realtor Fred C. Tucker, Jr., Donald L. Fortunato and Gunner P. Nilsson of Chicago. The new owners/developers announced plans to totally renovate the building and create an outstanding intimate luxury hotel with European traditions and ambiance. It was to reflect the charm and historical quality of Canterbury, England - thus, the Historic Canterbury Hotel.
In March 2010, turnaround and improvement specialist, Turner Woodard, owner of The Stutz buildings and Wasatch Lake, purchased the property in order to apply his unique vision and inspiring passion to the historic hotel and restaurant. His vision was to redevelop the Canterbury Hotel in a more contemporary yet comfortable Polo / Ralph Lauren theme.
Every prominent, tier-one city should have an independent and unique boutique hotel – and with Woodard's acquisition and the loyal, experienced staff on board, the Canterbury Hotel is that special jewel of a hotel in Indianapolis.
Turner Woodard became owner of the Historic Canterbury Hotel in March 2010. An Indianapolis native who has carved a niche in tourism and commercial development through "adaptive reuse," Woodard has made his mark renovating and altering properties into unique destinations that contribute to the community.
Woodard is passionate about preserving the heritage and history that has made Indianapolis great. In the early 1990s, he bought the Stutz auto factory. "We cleaned it up, lit it up, and painted it up - no change to its character," Woodard says. Today, the Stutz Business Center is a bustling business incubator that houses some of the city's top entrepreneurs.
The Canterbury Hotel is Woodard's most recent passion. Since his purchase in 2010, he and his team implemented operational, marketing, and interior design updates, bringing the 12-story, 99-room, jewel-box hotel to a new glory. Woodard reopened the hotel restaurant, renaming it Turner's Cocltails and Cuisine and hired a new chef. It has quickly earned a reputation as a wonderful new downtown eatery.
When he needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of Indianapolis, Woodard heads to Wasatch Lake, a 300-acre country retreat that boasts eight lakeside rental cabins. He calls it "the getaway that's not far away" because it's just an hour from Indianapolis yet offers his guests a relaxing environment to fish, canoe, hike, swim, play tennis, bird watch, or just do nothing at all. He purchased it in 1996, and in typical Turner-style, had the cabins renovated to include all the luxuries of home for his guests.
"It's a great mix of Hoosier hospitality properties," Woodard says. "Away from home, our guests enjoy city life at the Canterbury and Turner's, or they can just get away from it all at Wasatch Lake - two great Indiana properties with loads of history and amenities."
When not working with his properties, Woodard loves collecting classic cars and racing his beloved vintage sports cars. When not pursuing these hobbies, he plays tennis with his family and paints with enthusiasm.