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The Book Nook

From Bloomingpedia
(Redirected from Book Nook)
Buffalouies at the Gables

The Book Nook was a former campus hangout in the early half of the 20th century. It occupied at least three different buildings on two different sites.

The first building was a frame structure at 114 S. Indiana Avenue.

The first building was demolished in 1914 and the current brick building with the gabled facade and white enameled brick was built in it's place. it is purported that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the notes of Stardust at the piano in this building. Nichols & Nichols were architects for the second building.

A new building at the corner of Indiana and Kirkwood Avenues became home to the New Book Nook in 1934. This building was built by the heirs of Walter S. Bradfute and rented to the New Book Nook. It would later be the home of the Block's College Shop and Space Port. A rental property that Bradfute built in about 1900 was demolished in order to build the third home of the Book Nook. The third building was demolished to make way for the Carmichael Center.


In 1919, George Poolitsan, owner of the Candy Kitchen on Walnut Street, purchased the Book Nook from C.D. Fetzer and C.W. Jewett, a former mayor of Indianapolis. Poolitsan died months later, and his widow sold the business to relatives Peter, George, and Harry Costas. It was during this period that it gained a reputation as a student hot spot. In his autobiography, Sometimes I Wonder, Hoagy Carmichael wrote: "On Indiana Avenue stood the Book Nook, a randy temple smelling of socks, wet slickers, vanilla flavoring, face powder, and unread books. Its dim lights, its scarred walls, its marked up booths, and unsteady tables made campus history."

Four Book Nook Commencements were held between 1927 and 1931. In 1931 Herman Wells, future president of Indiana University, was awarded a Doctor of Nookology degree.

Carmichael wrote Stardust in the boom year of 1927; but in 1931, only four years later, the depression forced the Costas Brothers to sell the Book Nook. The children of George Poolitsan, Nick, Chris, Charlie, and Pete, and their sister Katherine Topolgus still owned the building, and re-opened it as a restaurant called The Gables. They ran it until 1968.

The IU Foundation bought the building in 1979 and has leased it out to several other restaurants, including another Gables restaurant, which was owned by Max and Linda Wildman and operated from 1997-2001.

The Book Nook/The Gables

Businesses occupying the second Book Nook building at 114 S. Indiana Avenue