I had a thread some time back about the rumored tunnel system in Huntington, WV but I think it was archived and I cannot find it (if someone could locate it I would be grateful). Anyway, I am making a new thread requesting any and all information related to the tunnels/catacombs beneath the city. My plan is to update this thread with the information that I have gathered and continue to collect more as time goes by. Below will be a short list of places with suspected tunnels. I say short because I have some forty pages of information so far.
1.) The Federal Building Tunnel: located on 8th Street 5th Avenue is intact, “Keith Adams” used it when the Veterans Affairs office was there. The VA moved in 1980 and it was in use then to transport mail from the post office to the federal building. It is in the basement, not sub-basement and it wide enough for 2 people to walk through it, unsure about length.
2.)Keith Albee: They are no longer accessible but at one time were used to bring in animals and performers into the theater. There is a tunnel (now flooded and blocked) that connects the Keith Albee and the Frederick Hotel, again used to bring performers into the theater from the hotel. What I have found is not a tunnel that you can walk through. It may have been at one time but now it is only a conduit with a large pipe in it. It is wide enough for a person to walk into it but it has been filled with concrete. I believe it could have been a passage to the Fredrick but there is no way now. Maybe a trip to the Fredrick would help to see where the other side might have come out. I just don’t know. Another thing that makes it seem as if it wouldn’t have been a passage to the hotel is the machinery that is in front of the tunnel. Of course this could have been put in years after the tunnel was used but it is very tight there. But an argument for the tunnel being there is the brick work around the tunnel. It seems to be framed in such a way that people could walk under it.
It is rumored that access to such tunnels is located in the Keith Albee basement. There was one used for deliveries, which is confirmed, and then one that is largely confirmed by anecdotal evidence about existing between the theater and the Frederick Hotel. This tunnel was said to be used by performers staying at the hotel, and on a more folkloric level, used by the mob and others for nefarious activity––-mainly running alcohol during the Prohibition.
The tunnel said to run under 4th avenue was last used in the 1970’s and was later sealed and subsequently caved in as a result of fourth avenue traffic/construction. What remains are two boarded up entrances, one on the Keith Albee side, and one that is more difficult to locate in the basement of the Frederick.
3.) Tunnel under fifth avenue where the Flint Group Pigments is located
4.) Sewer Lines: Rumors are they these are the tunnels from long ago. When these were installed along 3rd and 5th avenues, many were five feet tall and were big enough to drive a car through. I have been told from source that he would walk for miles inside these lines as a kid in the 1950’s.
5.) Guyandotte: As for the Guyandotte area tunnels, those are even more largely left to folklore. Many believe, with the aid of a Don Daniel McMillian book called The Underground Railroad: Lawrence County, Ohio and Cabell County, Virginia, that there are tunnels running from several homes to the river that were used on the Underground Railroad. There are three main buildings that the rumors seem to concentrate on:
a.) The Letulle Home, located on Guyan St. No tunnels have ever been found under this location, but it is local folklore that the home did serve as a temporary living facility for the Union troops stationed at the Union recruitment camp. The troops were said to have used this tunnel during the Raid on Guyandotte, but that cannot be confirmed. The Letulles were slave owners, so historically, it’s sketchy.
b.). The Methodist Church on Main St. We talked to the current staffers who flat out deny this rumor. What is believed to be the tunnel is actually and area from when the church was heated by coal. The church was built upon the foundation of the old church that was destroyed during the Civil War, so if there WERE any tunnels, they were filled in. This church was actually the location of the 'southern Methodist' church, after the Methodist church split in 1844 over slavery, so it’s also sketchy that it would be an UR stop.
c.). The Hysell-Wilson-Garrett Home on Main St. This home is located across the street from the Methodist Church and we've heard plenty of rumors about the tunnels leading from it to the church. However, the current owner has said there is absolutely no evidence of this, and a local historian claims that what is believed to be a tunnel is actually a bricked off cellar.
As for the VFW, I've personally not heard any stories from tunnels underneath it. The current VFW building is only about 40 years old and was built atop several 1900 era homes. The former VFW, however, was located in the former Guyandotte Bank building...so its possible there might have been something there.
6.) Camden Park Tunnel: This is confirmed by a source and claims there is a tunnel under the property and can only be seen when the river is low.
7.) Underground Railroad Tunnels: These are confirmed by the same source as the Camden Park tunnel and he said that there are a series of houses in the west-end that have tunnels that connect the houses. It is rumored that as many as twenty five houses have such tunnels.
8.) Steam Tunnels/Coal Storage: These are what many claim to be said tunnels and most have been filled in or collapsed over time.
9.) Morris Hotel/Morris Building: There is an access point located in this building, I am still trying to gain access to this from the owner. It has been confirmed that there is a ballroom under 9th street plaza that is intact from the 1920’s. Apparently there was fire back then that nearly demolished the hotel and the ballroom has been sealed up ever since. I have been told that everything is still down there still in excellent condition. I will update this in the next few days with great details. There is a large room that does exist under what is now “Cabana’s” and is suppose to have several access points to the tunnels. I have to speak with the owner and arrange a tour to confirm this myself. This large room is somewhat flooded as I am told, and the entire room has really nice wood paneling (like wainscoting not generic stuff) all around and very nice wooden arches throughout the entire room (sort of separating space). The floor was small black and white tile.
This room was part of the ballroom prep area, where food would come down via dumbwaiters from the above hotel kitchen. You wouldn’t know it when you’re in there, but there is a hall (was a hall) leading from this room to the ballroom.
10.) 5th Street access point: The access point is at the top of 5th street hill, almost directly across from Lavallette nursery. It is on the left side of the road if you are heading towards I-64 from the park. The access point looks to be around 20" X 20" square window of sorts. It is located on a rock face that has been covered with concrete back in the day as if it were covering up something like a cave or something. I drive by this every day and you would miss it if not for a careful eye. Serious erosion has revealed this access point, at one time I suspect it was completely covered with dirt. There is a road to the left of the access point that goes up the hill to a subdivision. As soon as you turn the corner up the hill, to the right is more concrete over the rock face, again like it was covering something up. I suspect something is there but I’m not 100% certain.
12.) Marshall Cafe Tunnel: I read about this in a history book about Huntington. It in fact existed back in the day but was sealed up many years ago. As mentioned it was used to transport dirt to the river when they were digging out for the basement.
-Walt (from AR15) response: “My Grandfather built the basement under the MU cafe. My family still owns the building and I have been in, under, around and through the building and there is not evidence of a tunnel and I do not remember either my Grandfather or my Father speaking of a tunnel going to the river. He also owned what was known as the Lewis Arcade building that was last used as C. F. Reuschleins on FOURTH avenue and there WAS talk among the Family of a tunnel going between there and the court house. I have gone through old corporate documents but haven't found any information as to any tunnel for dirt disposal. My father might have known something but he's been gone nearly 10 years now. I'll ask my cousins if they know anything. If you'd like to explore the basement of the MU cafe building, Let me know, I'll see if we can set something up.”
13.) Stone & Thomas building: There is a rumored tunnel under this building but after talking to my grandmother (who now lives in Florida) I have my doubts that one actually exists. My grandmother worked there for many years as a manager and had unlimited to the building and she said if there was a tunnel she never knew about it. She is in her 70’s by the way and like many others, she has heard of all the tunnel rumors but has never seen them herself. I plan on talking to her again about the rumored tunnels in the coming days.
14.) Jewelry Store beside the Keith Albee: The jewelry store beside the Keith built a brick wall between them and The Keith for obvious reasons. There was a fire at the jewelry store beside the Keith and some of the Huntington firefighter came out on 5th avenue in Farrell & Farrell law offices.
Those two statements are not confirmed and I plan on contacting a few fire fighters that I know locally and try and confirm said fire.
15.) Huntington Arcade Tunnel: This simply doesn’t exist, I have confirmed this several times as well as a few others. What are located in the basement of this building is a bowling alley and a small dance floor. I’m sure that neither has been used in at least sixty years or more. I loosely know the owner of this building and he too has confirmed that no tunnel exists under his building.
Anyone else have anything on this topic?