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10:45 AM  Dec 9th, 2013
by Megan Garrison '14

The most famous catacombs in the world are in Paris, but UD alumni don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience a set of intertwining tunnels with a rich history. They just need to meet up with UD’s
Indianapolis alumni chapter.

“The chapter meets six to 10 times, annually,” said Melissa Weseli ’04, chapter president, who listed activities like gamewatches and Christmas off Campus as popular offerings. “We host at least five main events each year.”

The chapter focuses on lifelong learning, culture, art, student outreach, spiritual growth, networking and service. The nearly 1,400 members provide a vast selection of activities to enjoy in the Hoosier state, but it’s what the Indianapolis chapter chose as its cultural event last spring that caught the attention of several other chapters.

“In my job at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, I had heard about the City Market catacomb tours as a fun thing to do while visiting the city. I thought our local alumni would enjoy it, too,” Weseli said.
The tunnels that rest below the traffic and hubbub in Indiana’s capital city were constructed more than a hundred years ago. Instead of housing the dead, these tunnels were used to transport and store meats and produce sold at the City Market before the days of refrigeration. More than a century has passed, yet the limestone and brick archways are still intact and apt for exploring.

“We were able to partner with Indiana Landmarks, a fantastic organization that hosts this public historical tour along with the others in the state,” Weseli said. “The 30-minute tour was on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of June, taking us underground to see all the remains of a historical plaza that was destroyed by a fire in the 1950s.”

The catacombs were a nice place to cool down during the hot summer day, with a wide range of alumni participating.

“Most of us had never explored that part of our city, including me,” Weseli said. “We will definitely do something like that again in 2014.”

While UD alumni make a home in Indianapolis, they aren’t just staying for the Indy 500 and Hoosier pride, but a slice of history that lies just below their feet.

How can you have lots of fun, for little cash, in Indy?

“St. Joan of Arc French Market, the first Saturday after Labor Day. It’s free and always has a UD vs. Notre Dame volunteer challenge going.”
—James Seidel ’70 and Molly Pritchard Seidel ’71

“Visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is one of my favorite things in Indy and one of the best values around. For just a small additional fee you can take the bus tour around the grounds of the track.”
—King Doxsee ’90

“Tailgating at the Hurst Beanery before a Colts game, Three Wise Men in Broad Ripple for pizza and beer or going to Clowes Hall at Butler for a concert.”
—Mike Bosway ’80 and Betsy Sweeney Bosway ’81

“Running, walking or biking on the ever-expanding Monon Trail or the downtown canal. Listening to music at outdoor concerts held at various parks in the summer.“
—Margaret Adamek ’82

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