Homeowner Gary Machens unearthed a 9-foot underground tunnel when he observed his sidewalk beginning to slope.
Machens stated: “A lot of brick. Whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours. You know, one guy didn’t do this.” He went on: “Had a problem here at the sidewalk and as we were doing some excavating and repacking of the rock here, we discovered this tunnel here,” he said. “According to historians here in the Alton area. This tunnel was put in here around 1840.”
When the farmer from West Alton and his bride first moved into the abode, he was familiar with its history already – dating back to the 19-century (1890s approx). Machens thinks the shift in ascent from 1895 when the brick-paved street was laid down cloaked the opening to this belowground enigma. Machens added: “Why is it stair-stepped like this? Why is that in there? Do you see the offset in the brick? And if you look along this wall it turns that way a little bit. Look down along this wall.
“It’s unique, there are a few tunnels around the Alton area since we checked with the Landmark Historic Society. It’s been used as an icehouse or root cellar or a lot of other options. It could have been used for the Underground Railroad. There’s no proof of that but there was a ferry here in the Alton area to the Missouri side and it’s possible it could have been used for that.”
YOU MAY LIKE: