Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Geography on Set: Connecting Real Places to Parks and Recreation - Andy and April's House

If you got to see Tuesday's premiere of the final season of Parks and Recreation, you know that Andy and April were lamenting the fact that they were growing older and more and more boring. Being the responsible adults that they are, they stopped to look at some real estate. While driving through Pawnee's creepy Warehouse District (which April says features raccoons and old car batteries) April spots a haunted-looking home. They go inside and look around. Andy is shown reading a flyer with the description of the house, revealing that the home has 12 closets, 3 bomb shelters, 5 dumbwaiters, 2 and 3/8 baths, and no kitchens. There's also a staircase to nowhere and a fire pole.

It sounds like the perfect house for April and Andy. April loves anything creepy, and Andy lived in a tent in a giant pit for some time. The creepy homeowner of 47 years tells them that the house was once used as a holding cell for insane assembly line workers from the Pawnee Doll Head Factory. Andy and April decide to buy the house on the spot, and proceed to make out.

I know that Parks and Recreation is not filmed in Indiana, but the external scenes of Andy and April driving around Pawnee got me curious. The urban planner in me wanted to know a little bit more about April and Andy's house. Well, after paying attention to some buildings in the background and doing some quick Google Maps searching, I found Andy and April's house.

It is located in Los Angeles, near the Pico Union and Westlake neighborhoods. We're not sure what the address to Andy and April's house will be in Pawnee, but the real address is 837 Beacon Avenue in Los Angeles. (You can view the tax information for the property here.) The Google Street View image is said to be from September 2014, and the only difference in the appearance of the home on Parks and Recreation compared to that in real life, is that that the windows (most of which are missing) were no longer boarded with plywood.

Google Street View

The home is noted to have been built in 1897, and comes with 6 bedrooms and 2 baths. So, as revealed in this episode, someone added 3/8 of a bathroom over time! It is valued at just over $50,000. I wonder if the current owner will see an interest in the house, now given its place in Parks and Recreation. We'll all have to wait to see what happens to April and Andy and their home ownership plans. I wonder if Ron and his Very Good Building and Development business will be doing a remodel of the house? Who knows... This is the kind of stuff that happens when urbanists geek out over their favorite television shows and start exploring Google Maps.