What lies beneath downtown Terre Haute?

What lies beneath downtown Terre Haute?


By Mark Bennett for the Tribune-Star

Every day, pedestrians walk over perhaps Terre Haute’s greatest lost treasure.

It lies beneath the asphalt, concrete and grass along South Ninth Street, between Poplar and Oak streets. Most people with firsthand knowledge have long since died. But legends, clues and a 105-year-old blueprint linger.

Mike Rowe is almost certain of one possibility. And Rowe, who’s studied and brewed local beer, has a hunch about another intriguing mystery.

That city block was once filled by the nation’s seventh-largest brewery — the Terre Haute Brewing Co. At its peak, the beer plant produced 46.5 million gallons of Champagne Velvet a year, employed 950 people, and served as the lifeblood of the town in its “Sin City” era before closing in 1958. Built in the 1880s before refrigeration, the brewery complex included four cavernous beer cellars, designed to store lager in 181⁄2-foot, 75-barrel wooden tanks at the optimum temperature of 52 degrees.
After Prohibition ended and modern cooling systems emerged, the brewery largely abandoned its underground spaces, Rowe said.

He believes those massive cooling cellars are still intact, under sidewalks, parking lots and current buildings…CONTINUE READING AT THE TRIBUNE STAR

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