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Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 11:09 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 11:09 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Indiana's architectural achievements aren't always what you see on the skyline. Sometimes, you need to look underground. And, starting this weekend, you'll be able to see what’s beneath the City Market in Indianapolis.
It’s preparing to offer tours of the catacombs beneath the west wing of the building. The space used to be the basement of Tomlinson Hall downtown.
At one time, the market’s merchants used the basement for storage. At another time, in 1912, the mayor allowed homeless people to spend the night here to escape an especially harsh winter.
“Some people have heard of it and never seen it,” said Stevi Stoesz, executive director of the City Market Corp. “Others didn't know it existed, and they're eager to get down here and see it."
Stoesz recalled a visit last summer by the Lafayette Chapter of the Paranormal Society.
“They registered activity - voice and movement,” she said.
But, if there are spirits in the catacombs, she added: “None of them have ever talked to me.”
Over the years, market managers have discussed whether they might find ways to use the space. They’re challenged by how to make the catacombs meet safety codes. A feasibility study in the mid-1990s estimated the cost of such basic improvements to be in the range of $7 million. Stoesz estimated the cost might be $10 million now.
Until something else is done, the market plans to offer tours.
Tours will be offered at 11:30 a.m., noon and 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Then, they’ll continue on the fourth Saturday of every month and on Wednesdays through October.
The tours will cost $10 per person. The money will be divided between the Indiana Landmarks organization and the City Market Corp.