It felt like a trip to the past for an Illinois man after he found an old underground tunnel beneath his home.
Gary Machens never thought that just under his home sitting a mysterious 19th-century-era tunnel. It was surely an astonishing discovery for the homeowner.
This story was recently shared by Fox 2 St. Louis news. Machens took the camera crew deep below his home to show the world what the hidden tunnel looks like. Also, he was able to share how the tunnel was eventually discovered. He also had a theory about why this underground tunnel was built.
According to the video, the tunnel was discovered after part of the sidewalk fell apart. He then realized that there is an entrance leading to something underground.
In the video, while Machens stood inside the tunnel, he said, “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. Lotta brick. Whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours. One guy didn’t do this.”
The historians who visited the tunnel believed that it dates back to at least 1840. In fact, Machens revealed that the house’s past can be traced back to the 1890s.
He explained, “Yes, three former mayors of Alton have lived in this house through the years. I don’t know if any of them knew about this. The house was built in 1890, the tunnel is believed from 1840, so it was here for 50 years.
What it was used for, I don’t know. We’ve got maps that go back to 1863 and this house was not there and there was not another house on this property here. ”
If you watch the clip, it shows that the tunnel has a set of stairs and offsets on the walls. Machens believes that the crawlspace could have been used as part of the Underground Railroad. It could have also been an ice storage area or a cellar.
He shared, “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. ”
He said that the residents probably covered the entrance to the tunnel around 1895 when the streets were lined with bricks.
He further explained, “It’s unique, there are a few tunnels around the Alton area since we checked with the Landmark Historic Society. Why [are the stairs] stepped like this?” he said. “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.”
Machens admits that he loves history. He said that he hopes to open the underpass for tourists. But that will only be possible if he can get the city to help with logistics and costs. For now, he said that he is fixing up his sidewalk and seal up the tunnel entry.
So many discoveries similar to this have already been reported. Another incident was with a New York City woman who was convinced that her apartment was haunted. She felt that she’s saying the truth after she found a hidden room. She was able to document her discovery in a series of TikTok videos.