Gary Machens of Alton Illinois was doing some excavation just outside his home to repair a sloping sidewalk when he uncovered a huge mysterious brick tunnel underneath his property. Historians suggest it could have been used to store carriages, as a root cellar, ice storage, or possibly as part of the Underground Railroad network that helped enslaved Black people escape to freedom. From Fox2Now:
"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," [Machens said.]
"Yes, three former mayors of Alton have lived in this house through the years," Machens said. "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."