Illinois Man Discovers Mysterious 19th-Century Tunnel Under His House

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Illinois Man Discovers Mysterious 19th-Century Tunnel Under His HouseFox 2 St Louis/YouTube

While you’d expect to find nothing put pipes and dirt underneath your home, one guy found something much more interesting.

After a section of the path near his home fell apart, Gary Machens, from Illinois, decided to do some digging – literally – and uncovered a 19th-century tunnel beneath his home.


It’s believed the tunnel dates all the way back to the 1840s, but it remains a mystery as to why it was built.

Check it out:


Discussing the matter with Fox 2 St. Louis, Machens explained how he came to make the discovery. He explained, ‘[I] had a problem here at the sidewalk, and as we were doing some excavating and repacking of the rock here, we discovered this tunnel here.’


‘Whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours,’ he added, while stood in the tunnel. ‘One guy didn’t do this.’

How did the tunnel come to be hidden then, I hear you ask? Machen believes that the change in elevation since 1895, when this brick-lined street was put down, covered the opening to the tunnel, Fox 2 reports.

fox 2Fox 2 St. Louis

Machens further detailed his home’s history to the local news channel:


Three former mayors of Alton have lived in this house through the years. I don’t know if any of them knew about [the tunnel]. 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.


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The homeowner went on to question if the tunnel could have been used for an underground railroad. Machens added, ‘There’s no proof of [it being a railroad], 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.’

Fox 2Fox 2 St. Louis

Machens has since spoken to Landmark Historic Society, which says there are a few more similar tunnels located nearby, New York Post reported.


The Illinois resident isn’t the only person to have made a strange discoveries around their home; this TikToker found a whole secret apartment located behind her bathroom mirror.

Fortunately no one appeared to be in the apartment – that she could see, anyway…

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, Discovery, Home, Illinois, Now


New York Post
  1. New York Post

    Man discovers mysterious 19th-century tunnel under his home