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Historic Cairo

Underground Tunnels

    In June 1998, Cairo city workers discovered what appeared to be storage bins under the sidewalk along Levee Street. The bins are perpendicular to the street and have doorways on the end away from the street that open into a tunnel that runs parallel with the street. The tunnel is believed to have had doorways opening into the basement of the buildings that adjoined the sidewalk. The Illinois Central Railroad originally ran down the street. It is believed the structures date back to the late 1850's.

    When the tunnel was discovered, a local historic preservationist was contacted. If the Civil War and Underground Railroad events can be verified, the preservationists will work to preserve them and attempt to open them to the public as an attraction.

    When the city crew workers were working, they knocked the top off of the rooms when they removed the concrete sidewalk in order to install a new one. The rooms they opened are in the 600 block of Levee Street, but physical evidence suggests that the rooms and an adjoining tunnel run for five or six blocks along the street.

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