Pogue’s Run39.755853, -86.174402

John Green

Pogue’s Run, the stream that runs beneath the city of Indianapolis, makes an appearance in John Green’s novel Turtles All the Way Down.


John Green
b. 1977

Literary Inspiration

Turtles All the Way Down

Published 2017


White River Trail under Interstate 70

Nearest address:

1003 South White River Parkway West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46221

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Turtles All the Way Down

John Green

“Let’s not get lost in the details, Holmesy. The point is he made it and submitted it to this supercool arts collective Known City, and they are putting it in this one-night-only gallery show they’re doing Friday night called Underground Art, where they turn part of the Pogue’s Run tunnel into an art gallery.” Pogue’s Run was the tunnel that emptied into the White River that Pickett’s company had been hired to expand, the work they’d never finished. Seemed an odd place for an art show.


The tunnel was just tall enough for me to stand, and it wound around until I couldn’t see the creek anymore. I turned off the flashlight for a moment. The darkness was total. I took a few shuffling steps forward, waiting for my eyes to adjust. But there was nothing for my eyes to adjust to. I turned the flashlight back on and kept walking. Soon, I realized I had no idea where I was. Was I beneath the blue house across the street? Was I even still in my neighborhood? Could I really walk all the way to the supermarket underground? The deeper into the city’s bowels I went, the more mysterious the hidden network of conduits seemed.

—John Green, “A Brief Plunge into the Hidden World of Indy’s Sewers”
Indianapolis Monthly, February 2013

I began to see [the city] as a place where big moments in human lives take place. The climactic scenes in my two most recent novels, The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down, both take place at the corner of 86th and Ditch, and I think what people like about those books is Indianapolis.

—John Green, “Indianapolis and Love at First Sight”
Episode 12 in The Anthropocene Reviewed podcast

John Green is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of Looking for AlaskaThe Fault in Our Stars, Turtles All the Way Down and other worksHe lives in Indianapolis and sets many of his novels in the city. In addition to being an author, John also creates YouTube videos with his brother Hank for vlogbrothers, Crash CourseOurs Poetica and more. Learn more about John at www.johngreenbooks.com. 



STuart Hyatt

“What is the City Hiding” by Field Works from the album Pogue’s Run


White River Trail under Interstate 70

Nearest address:

1004 South White River Parkway West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46221


Closest IndyGo Stops:

Washington Street & White River Parkway (Route 8)


How to Plan a Trip on IndyGo:  

  • Use the Trip Planner on IndyGo.net 
  • Use Google Maps (select “transit” as your travel method) 
  • Call IndyGo Customer Service at 317-635-3344 
  • Track your bus using the MyStop Mobile App 


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On this FAQ page, John Green talks writing, revision and his inspiration for the books that are beloved by so many of us. He offers a candid look at his writing process, which he says usually involves “a 90% chance I’m just gonna delete whatever I write anyway”; rather than finding that demoralizing, however, he calls it “hugely liberating.”


John Green has written about the Indianapolis intersection of 86th and Ditch in pivotal scenes within his books The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down. Green employs the symbolic power of settings in creative ways and appreciates the intersection as a representation of the distinct American blend of cultures; you’ll find everything from a tavern to a Thai restaurant, a Russian deli to a Starbucks. Artist Joey Chou created this poster of the intersection as an homage to John Green and his widely read books.


Former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck began a book club while playing for Indianapolis. One of the books he selected for the club in 2018 was John Green’s novel Turtles All the Way Down. Luck and Green held a joint event in May of that year at which the quarterback interviewed the author about the inspiration for the book, the abstract nature of pain (which is examined through the lens of the book’s main character) and Green’s decision to base the book’s setting in Indianapolis. In the interview, Green says, “I love writing about Indianapolis” and explains his choice to include Indianapolis landmarks such as the White River and Pogue’s Run in the book, as well as their significance to the book’s theme of expressing and dealing with one’s own thoughts and emotions.


This article offers an extensive interview with John Green. In it, Green talks about a variety of subjects, including his philosophy that authors should take a backseat in the overall narrative of stories. He says that he wants his readers to “live inside the story” which proves difficult to do “in this author-driven world.” He also explains his love for the city of Indianapolis, saying, “it’s a very American city” with “a great cultural and civic spirit.



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