A couple discovers a mysterious tunnel from the 19th century under their houseApr 142021
Historians estimate that the underground structure was built in approximately 1840, but its original purpose is still unknown.
A couple from the state of Illinois (USA), who had recently bought a new house, have discovered a mysterious tunnel from the 19th century under their property, local media report.
Gary and Beth Machens purchased the home in the city of Alton and moved in in December of last year.
Recently, the couple decided to repair a part of the sidewalk that was starting to crumble. When Gary removed a stone cover to do the work, he found a tunnel about 2.7 meters high and at least 18 meters deep.
The arch of the tunnel is built with limestone, while its walls are made of brick. Most of the floor is dirt and rock, with pieces of wood scattered throughout the hallway.
Local historians estimated that the underground structure was built in approximately 1840, possibly years before the house was built. However, the original purpose of the tunnel is still unknown.
Gary noted that it is a "unique" tunnel and suggested that it may have been used as a basement, a cold room, or even as part of an underground railroad in the city.
The owner also recalled that three former Alton mayors lived in that property, wondering if any of them knew of the existence of this space. "The house was built in 1890, the tunnel is believed to date from 1840, so it was here for 50 years. What was it used for? I don't know. We have maps dating back to 1863 and this house wasn't there and there was no other home in this place, "he added.