Indianapolis City Market Catacombs

Useful Information

Location: City Market, Downtown Indianapolis.
Open: Wed, Sat 10:30-.
Fee: Adults USD 10.
Classification: SubterraneaKeller
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: AR=1,860m².
Guided tours:
Address: Stevie Stoesz, Tel: +1-317-634-9266. E-mail: contact
Indiana Landmarks, 1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202, Tel: +1-800-450-4534, +1-317-639-4534, Fax: +1-317-639-6734.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1886 built.
1912 used to house homeless people.
1958 Tomlinson Hall destroyed by a fire.
06-JUN-2012 opened to the public.



The so-called Indianapolis City Market Catacombs are actually no catacombs at all. Catacombs are early Christian graveyards, which were built underground or at least into cliff faces. The exact origin and use of this underground structure is forgotten, but it was the foundation of the Tomlinson Hall, built from limestone and bricks in 1886, when Tomlinson Hall was constructed. This building destroyed by fire in 1958 and was never rebuilt, so today the Whistler Plaza at City Market is located at the same place. Only a historic archway and the basement remain.

The underground vaults cover an area of 1,860m². It is not really clear why they built such a structure with rows of brick arches, room-like areas and dirt floors, it is really unusual for a basement. It seems a good idea to build vaults instead of filling it completely in, as much less material is needed. This could be a reason for this structure, as the transport of huge amounts of rocks was expensive in the early 20th century. Today the work of the bricklayer would be too expensive and the whole basement would be filled in using heavy machinery.

The current owner City Market planned to make an underground bar, restaurant or club when they discovered the space. But such ventures have strict saftey regulations and the renovation would cost millions of dollar, obviously too much for the expected revenue. But the place was used on special occasions, in the 1990s a commercial was shot here, a haunted house, and an art installation took place underground. The City Market and Indiana Landmarks gave tours during the Super Bowl week in February 2012, and the response was overwhelming. There was so much interest, that they decided to to open up the catacombs for more tours. The regular tours into the underground structure will start on 06-JUN-2012. Tickets will be sold on the first floor of City Market's west wing. Tours will be offered on Wednesdays and some Saturday from 10:30.