Hidden Indianapolis Catacombs
Did you know that there are catacombs that lie beneath the city market of Indianapolis? Hidden from public view for decades the Indianapolis catacombs are now open for public tours and special events.
“The Catacombs qualify as both a ruin and a redevelopment opportunity. They’re what remains of Tomlinson Hall, an imposing building whose main hall seated 3,500 people. Dietrich Bohlen designed the hall in 1886 to complement his earlier work at City Market. He also designed Indiana Landmarks’ Morris-Butler House. Tomlinson Hall burned in January 1958, turning Market Street into an icy lake as firefighters battled the blaze. The city took down the remains later that year. Our Catacombs don’t contain bones or crypts—at least none that we know of—but rather scores of brick barrel-vaulted arches that remain from what was the basement of Tomlinson Hall.”
Arriving at the City Market for my very own Catacombs tour I eagerly awaited for the tour guide to meet us.
I heard stories that these catacombs may have some ghosts roaming around and I wanted a first look at the tunnels below the streets.
Walking through a normal, everyday office, we descend a wide staircase to a lower level and to a door. I knew that beyond that door laid the famous City Market Catacombs and I could not wait.
Opening the door we take a step back in time. Hard packed dirt under our feet and stone walls lining the walkways. Beyond sharing the history of the catacombs our guide shares ghost stories of objects moving and apparitions appearing in photos. It’s hard to imagine the catacombs as a vibrant Hall hosting huge events.
Catacombs tours are the first and third Saturdays, May through October, with an additional date the last Saturday in October. Tours begin at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1 p.m.
The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes and departs from Whistler Plaza, the west plaza of City Market, 202 E. Market Street, Indianapolis. In the event of bad weather, look for the check-in table inside the West Wing rather than on the plaza.