Indianapolis City Market and Indiana Landmarks stage tours of an unusual site usually hidden from public view. Our guided tour of the Catacombs shows you a Roman-looking expanse of brick arches beneath the outdoor Whistler Plaza of City Market.
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.