Bullets, darkness, and the Super Bowl
When Tomlinson Hall burned to the ground in 1958, the catacombs sturdily stayed put.
“The Indianapolis Police Department -- not IMPD because that wasn't established yet -- used the catacombs in the 1970s as a firing range,” Stoesz noted. “That was fairly short-lived.”
After that, the catacombs lay dormant for years. More recently, there have been several events down there -- from elegant dinners to service-industry events -- but all the recent activity is a product of the Super Bowl of 2012.
“We figured that people who attend Super Bowls have done pretty much everything,” said Stoesz. “So we thought ‘What is it that we have... that would entice people to come over and spend some time here?’ The catacombs!”
The City Market partnered with Indiana Landmarks to develop a historic and ghost-edged tour. It was an overwhelming success, and now, half-hour tours are given on the first and third Saturdays May through October.
“Ironically, it was primarily locals who had never heard of the catacombs or never knew they existed, and were super-intrigued by them,” Stoesz added.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the secrets buried way beneath the bricks in the bowels of Indianapolis, especially if you’ve spent much time wandering through City Market. What lies beneath isn’t for the weak, but it’s one more reason why Indy has even more underrated, understated, and underground cred.
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