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IUPUI's two-story outhouse

Tradition : Myths and Legends

A two-story what?

The infamous two-story outhouse - Courtesy of University Library Special Collections and Archives #UA24-002452
The two-story outhouse.

Maybe it was symbolic of a campus born of a merger between Big Ten archrivals like IU and Purdue, but one of the most renowned bits of IUPUI trivia is the infamous two-story outhouse. The building was located behind an apartment on the present site of the IUPUI Campus Center. Rumor has it that the outhouse was located in what will be the Jaguars Bookstore in the Northeast corner of the new building.

And yes, there is an old joke that remains in vogue (based loosely on oral history), that IU patrons got the upper berth and Purdue the lower.

Plague Cemetery

Believe it or not, the IUPUI campus once housed a "plague cemetery," the burial site of victims of an epidemic which swept the area north and east of White River. The best available records indicate that the cemetery was 100 feet west of Emerson Hall, and is commemorated by a rock marker.

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According to legend, one could travel from the Union all the way to LD (Science) via tunnels. Wouldn't that be convenient? This myth is true! Tunnels connected several campus buildings, and between the tunnel system and Gerbil Tubes, one could indeed reach most of campus. Unfortunately, most of the tunnel system is closed, but a section is still open between Engineering/Technology and Science. So it's still possible to travel between Science, University College, the Natatorium, IU Hospital, and all buildings in-between without stepping one foot outside. It may not be the most direct route, but you'll stay dry!

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot ..."

Maybe folk singer Joni Mitchell's song Big Yellow Taxi put it best: Only at IUPUI would college students have to choose between a fully functioning brewery and a parking lot. The current lot on the corner of New York Street and University Boulevard, west of Lecture Hall, once was the home of Casper Maus brewery. Well, it makes that "no-alcohol" policy a little easier to enforce.

Before "The Jungle"

IUPUI Cheerleaders perform in a game at Market Square Arena - Courtesy of University Library Special Collections and Archives, #UA24-005127s
IUPUI cheerleaders perform at a Metros game in Market Square Arena.

More and more IUPUI basketball and volleyball rivals are learning what it means to take on the Jaguars in "The Jungle," the IUPUI Gymnasium in the Natatorium. But before "The Jungle," IUPUI wound up playing its home games in a wide range of settings.

Among the game sites were two Indianapolis-area high schools (Wood and Bishop Chatard), two colleges (Marian and Indiana Central - now the University of Indianapolis), the U.S. Naval Armory (on 30th Street), the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, and the now-departed Market Square Arena. At MSA, the IUPUI men's basketball team - then known as the Metros - played its games prior to Indiana Pacers home games.

The "wandering Metros" encountered all sorts of challenges in trying to create a "home court advantage," but the biggest challenge of all surfaced in one of those Pacers-Metros "doubleheaders." On one occasion, the IUPUI game went into overtime, encroaching on the Pacers' mandatory one-hour rule, which required the floor to be cleared one hour before the start of the pro game. With the overtime still underway, the Pacers turned off the lights, instantly ending the game with IUPUI trailing on the scoreboard. In any case, a loss would have been assessed by forfeit, but the game was finally decided by the score at the time the "darkness" fell.

Where no student has gone before

IUPUI's Community Learning Network has built a rich history of unique classes to meet the needs and desires of Indianapolis-area residents, and yes, it's true — one of those popular choices was a course on the cult TV series Star Trek. The exploits of Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy, the relationships between humans, Klingons and Romulans — they all spiced up classroom life for hundreds of Star Trek fans. But the sci-fi enthusiasts had nothing on fans of "the greatest spectacle in racing," as Indianapolis 500 authority and IUPUI lecturer Donald Davidson regaled his students with the folklore surrounding the world's greatest open-wheel auto race.