June 30, 2016
Final Briefing: Duck & Cover: A Historic Bar Crawl

Claire Mauschbaugh, communications intern, transports us back to the Cold War Era in Indianapolis as she spills all about her assignment at the Historic Bar Crawl in her thematic final briefing.

Although our communications intern by day, Claire Mauschbaugh performed the duties of an Intelligence Officer at our fourth annual Historic Bar Crawl on June 21-22. She transports us back to the Cold War Era in Indianapolis as she spills all about her assignment at the Historic Bar Crawl in the thematic briefing below.


Over the past year, Cold War tensions have been building in Indianapolis. In order to investigate, I was asked to go undercover as an Intelligence Officer at the fourth annual Indiana Humanities Historic Bar Crawl. My mission? To discover confidential information surrounding the Red Menace’s presence in our dear city. Below you will find a full briefing on the evening (including all the fun at the pre- and post-party). See all the pictures here!

It begins…

Upon arrival, attendees were placed into four groups (comrades, subversives, civil defenders and informers). Intelligence officers, decked out in fedoras and sunglasses, gathered the groups at the IndyFringe Theatre as they enjoyed a Sun King Brewing Co. beer and appetizers. The groups were briefed on our highly-confidential mission before taking off to crawl along Mass Ave. on two beautiful June evenings. The groups were instructed to visit four unique locations to interact with a variety of communist sympathizers and valiant citizens defending our nation.

Invasion of the ICLU…

The first stop along the tour was a meeting of the newly formed Indiana Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union at the community center of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. As the meeting began, Father Victor Goosens of St. Mary’s Catholic Church welcomed the suspected subversive organization with open arms. He explained that the ICLU was denied access to the Indiana War Memorial, local hotels and other establishments within the city. The cake and punch prepared by the ladies of the church was definitely a welcoming touch!

A visit with allies on the watch tower…

Next, I found myself at Hirons & Company for a civilian training under the program Operation Skywatch. On the watch tower, a young gentleman taught our trusted civilians how to spot and listen for the sounds of Russian war planes. A young woman in the crowd speculated that perhaps the American government was training American civilians to see how well Soviet citizens could detect American planes. The volunteer trainer tested the group with questions on their patriotism while enjoying meatloaf sliders from our friends at Duos Indy.

Meeting a distraught ex-professor…

The next leg of journey brought us to Indy Reads Books where we met Rebecca Pitts, a recently dismissed Butler University professor. Pitts claimed to be a victim of McCarthyism, an effort to weed out Communist sympathizing academics, government workers and Hollywood screenwriters. Pitts believed that her liberal ideals and previous pro-communist writings led to her dismissal. Although suspicions were never confirmed, it seems as though Pitts was one Hoosier victim of the Communist witch hunts.

Working on the frontlines…

We meandered on and entered Union 50, a local watering hole along our route. We met two gentlemen from Naval Avionics Facility, an east-side factory that produced important and classified avionics and missile technologies, including the guidance systems for the Polaris submarine-based nuclear missiles. They offered us a tasty beverage while telling us about the interesting work they were doing to fight the Communist threat right here in Indiana. A new hire shared how the Naval Avionics Facility provided him with a well-paying job that he wouldn’t have been able to attain otherwise. These jobs were a cornerstone in the economy of Indianapolis.

Concluding thoughts…

All of the groups returned to Indy Fringe, delighted to find a Nicey Treat waiting to cool them down from their journey. As civil defenders, subversives, informers and comrades mingled within the space, there was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. We had all succeeded in our mission. We explored unique spaces, enjoyed tasty libations, learned unique stories surrounding Cold War Indianapolis and had plenty of fun along the way!

A huge thank you to…

Thanks to those who joined us for Duck & Cover: A Historic Bar Crawl! A special thanks to our fantastic actors, volunteers, host locations (IndyFringe, Union 50, Indy Reads Books and St. Mary’s Catholic Church) and partners, CityWay, Indiana Historical Society and Sun King Brewing Co.!).

Over and out…until next year!

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