I grew up north of Ogden and never heard of the tunnels until a few years ago.
The owner of the Kokomo Club said he pulled out an antique desk and a spittoon from a tunnel during a nearby excavation. One of his longtime customers and his wife took me on a tour of the street and introduced me to several propriators. They claimed to have been down under the streets and some of them said there used to be heroine dens and other illegal activities there. The Kokomo customer showed me a basement staircase which he said led to a tunnel but the owner of that bar wasn't around and we couldn't get permission to take a closer look.
The next day I asked a local book store buyer about the tunnels and she claimed they were a hoax.
I dated a cheerleader from West High School in about 1968. He worked for KSL changing these big reel to reel tapes in a tunnel under the SL Temple Visitor Center (the old one on temple square.) Steve Benson has mentioned those tunnels here in the past.
I worked at night in downtown SLC after school. I would go to the visitors center and downstairs where the theater was located. If you went to the exhibit of the temple sealing alter, there was a panel wall behind it. One panel was a door you could pop open. It entered the tunnel system that went under the tabernacle and this tape room where he worked at night.
I also had tests run by a doctor on South Temple, as I recall. I was taken down to a tunnel that ran under the street and over to some hospital or lab. That was a long time ago, and I don't remember the details of the exact location.
It never seemed odd to me, but then again, neither did Mormonism when growing up in Utah.
...can you give any additional details regarding your "doctor visit", and what might have occured there?....That seems especially odd, especially utilizing any underground connecting tunnels.....thanks!
Doesn't BYU also have an underground tunnel system that connects all its buildings? I know janitorial crews could often move through MTC buildings through underground passages in some cases, but I have heard different stories about how expansive the system is. Is it just a few adjoining buildings connected, or is it a vast underground system?
My older brother says that he used to go into the BYU tunnels when he was a student. Later he took me to his favorite entrance down in a sub-level of the Kimball Tower, but it seemed to have been walled off. He claimed that there was another entrance in the Canon Center cafeteria basement, but that you had to climb over and under machinery to find it.
When I worked in the MTC cafeteria I often looked at the gated and locked entrance in the basement to the tunnel network. It had a lot of what looked like utility conduits running through it, and looked quite dark and cramped.
It's not vast. It's more like maintenance tunnels -- the buildings have their electrical, communications, and (in some cases) hot water and air ducting connected. Before the advent of fiber optic communications, all the telephone and networking hookups were copper wiring, which itself weaves through the tunnels.
The Harold Lee Library has a pretty sprawling underground installation on two subbasements, which itself is pretty slick, if you ever get the chance to go down there.
I was an inmate the LTM (now MTC) in 1978. Yes, there are tunnels under the entire complex. They are for maintenance. In each dormitory building, on the first floor, are bedrooms that have a trap door in the floor, one on each side of the building. There is also a door in a hallway, typically at the end of the building that opens to a stair case leading underground. These catacombs are all connected. Nothing sinister, just maintenance.
While I was there, we kept a little shrine with photos for each "district". One night, we opened our trap door and took a vacuum cleaner to the room on the other side of the building, plugged it in, flipped the switch, and then quickly left. The next morning at breakfast, the 4 elders were talking about the vacuum that miraculously appeared in their room. LOL!!! One of the few fun moments.
We eventually were busted and hauled before the blood tribunal (ok, the LTM president) and berated for our bad behaviour.
I've been in the ones on the north side of the street. I assume the same sort of thing exists on the south side, but most of the current bars are on the north side.
The train station at the end of the street was a major military transportation hub back in the day, so 25th street was a, um, lively place for soldiers passing through. I got to take a quick look in a basement of one of the clubs - meh, it was a basement. There were buzzers on the top floor to alert people that someone was coming downstairs.
Nice to know that Utah was once upon a time more colorful than, say, State Street in Orem, which I'm sure qualifies as the world's longest strip mall.
BTW, any group of buildings heated via central steam heat is going to have tunnels for the steam pipes. Connected basements in commercial districts is not uncommon either.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2012 11:47AM by Brother Of Jerry.
I remember the skylights and the steel doors for the elevator in the sidewalk on 24th Kiesel Ave in Ogden.There were tunnels that could have gone around the whole block.Not long ago the tunnels were filled in.Maybe there were service tunnels under 25th street but they were filled in because they are now obsolete for today's world.
There are plastic blocks in the ground with lights in them next to the Solomon center at the Junction in downtown Ogden.The skylights on 24th street was like that but in small square sections along the sidewalk.I think the tunnels were part of the basement of the Kiesel building.There were many businesses there so goods were put on the trapdoor elevator and went from there.I heard about tunnels under 25th street that could have streached from the Union Station to the Ben Lomand on Washington,but maybe they were filled in so they would not cave in.
My mom told me that she heard about the tunnels in ogden on the news about them being used for brothels and speakeasy's,Al Capone has been in them.The tunnels under 24th could have connected to the 25th tunnels.I am sure the main intention for the tunnels was not for illegal purposes.Maybe each business had a skylight from the sidewalk to let light into their basement.Maybe there could be something in the below street level bars on 25th,if only any of them were still accessable!
My friends dad told me that the Standard Examiner was in the Kiesel building and the printing press was in the basement.Newspapers came up on the sidewalk elevator and sold from there.I saw a small square room and a tunnel going under a business on 24th street after the construction people jackhammered out the skylight.I asked the construction worker what was down there and he said tunnels.Maybe each business had a small room and a tunnel was nessassary so the front of the building would be more stable.I spoke with a woman who heard about the tunnels under 25 on the news.It was something like one tunnel system was just filled in and now the other tunnel system will be filled in.Other than that so many years have gone by and 25th has changed so much all tunnels are probably filled in by now.old buildings have been dug up from the ground and Kiesel Ave did not always connect to 25th.The tunnel entrances could have been in the buildings that have been torn down.Also the federal building is on 25th.
i live in ogden all my life,an i with other friends ran around those under-ground tunnels when we were 7-10 yrs old,the train depo had a stair well going down to the underground as soon as u get off the train,going under 25th street to the ben an the streets going north-south washington blvd,an from the ben to the show house next door.there was many tunnels in ogden,many of them are filled up now but as a child i know the truth......
Also tunnels all over under Dixie College. At least one under the City & County Building in SLC. Probably more common around the state than most people realize & not always existing for nefarious purposes.
OSU in Columbus, OH has tunnels like that connecting the entire medical/clinical complex ( dental, pharm, med, optometry schools), most of the parking decks, many of the admin buildings and quite a few of the far flung research labs plus the morgue, police, and newspaper offices, etc.
Maintenance, steam heat/plumbing, moving dead bodies around without alarming street level inhabitants, keeping foot traffic off the street and easier manuevering of people and equipment during bad weather, use by on-campus security during riots and protests, a tornado refuge and old-school bomb shelter, plus hiding DOD reserach stuff were all reasons I was told they were so extensive, when I worked there.
What did they tell you guys about why these tunnels were there?
The tunnels at BYU are for the steam heating system from the central heating plant. I have been through several of them back in the 70's. I do not know to what extent they have been decommissioned at this time, however they were in use back then. They were also used for connecting the campus building telephone/computer systems.
I lived up there for about five years. Once I was up at the college and snuck into the basement of the library and saw one of them. The other time I was playing a gig at one of the local bars and the other band that was playing had members that were related to the owner. Before our sets we went down and had a peek. It was neat.
In my youth I lived in ogden 1940/45 just off 25, we (my bro and acouple of cousins.) I thought we had been thru every st & ally there was, but do not remember any tunnels. I am sure had we known they would surely hav been thouraly investigated. "That doesn't mean they were there, just we never found them."
There has long been legend of tunnels in Brigham. There is suppose to be a tunnel under the tabernacle. Polygamists would hide up in the tower and look out for the feds. They had means of travel through very long tunnels that started in the basement of the old tabernacle and went long distances away.
There is also supposedly tunnels and bunkers in the old Indian Boarding School in Brigham. A friend of mine says as a wild teenager he went down into one and some how got lost down there. He wandered around for a few hours in the dark before finding his way out. Indian school is presently being demolished.
Well I can vouch for the catacombs beneath byu. I worked my way thru for a year including the summer before in the Custodial dept., on the Moving Crew in fact.
Got to see a lot of behind the scenes goings on there. Like the sloppy way the archeology dept was run, a Potemkin pretense up close.
Other tasks were setting up the Smith Fieldhouse for concerts. Had to bring over a Steinway from the Harris Fine Farts center for Roger Williams to play. Even got to chat with a man who's hands were insured for a million bucks.
Way back in the 60s I remember there being many metal trap doors in the side walks on different streets in Ogden and Salt Lake.
Delivery trucks would pull up in front of businesses and these metal doors would open. The deliveries were stacked on lifts that led to tunnels under the sidewalk and from those tunnels to the different stores.
At one time you could see where most were bricked up. Now concrete covers them.