The streets of Evansville may be bustling with activity, but it would be a mistake to think the only excitement is above ground. For readers with a penchant for hidden places, here are three of our favorites.
Carved out of stone and modeled after its namesake in France, the grotto beneath St. Boniface Catholic Church on Wabash Avenue is a secluded place for quiet reflection. The grotto weathered a fire in 1902, but it was the flood of 1937 that truly tested it, immersing the cave-like site in three feet of water and causing significant damage to its statues. After an extensive restoration, Our Lady of Lourdes grotto reopened in 1972 and displays relics from the church’s history.
418 N. Wabash Ave.
Winding beneath the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse are tunnels once used to transport prisoners. Crossing dirt floors under classic Roman vaulted ceilings, visitors may feel like they’ve stepped back in time, and they have. Crafted out of Bedford stone, the catacombs supported the Henry Wolters-designed structure completed in 1891. Each fall, the catacombs take visitors on a fright-filled tour of ghosts and ghouls during the annual haunted house.
201 NW Fourth St.
The 300 block of Main Street comes alive after hours thanks to High Score Saloon. Tucked into the lowest level of the building at 323 Main St., gaming enthusiasts pound away at retro arcade games and craft beer under neon lights, collectible décor, exposed brick, and tunneled doorways. A subterranean patio lets visitors catch their breath after going eight rounds with Homer Simpson or simply enjoy a plate of trash tots in a quiet place, like a curious secret kept from street-level passersby.
323 Main St. Ste. F
Grotto photo by Zach Straw, High Score Saloon photo provided.