Post details: 8th street tunnel


Permalink 11:56:03 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 605 words   English (US)

8th street tunnel

This weekend, Hiccup and I drove up to Kansas City to visit her sister and do a little exploring.

We got up to Kansas City a little after nine in the morning. Since we weren't sure Hiccup's sister would be ready for us, we drove around the Independence area to scope out some abandoned storage caves. It took us a little while to find them, because I only had vague directions, but we found them after a bit of searching. We didn't have enough time to explore them, so we took some quick pictures of the entrances. Then we went on over to Hiccup's sister's house and spent most of the day hanging out with them.

Around five o'clock, we started heading over to Union Station to meet up with youthsonic, LostLenore, and S1L3N7B0B, who were going to give us a tour of an abandoned subway tunnel called the 8th Street Tunnel. Once everyone had showed up, we all pulled our cars around to the same lot. Then we all piled into youthsonic's vehicle and started heading over to the tunnel.

I can't go into too many details about where the entrance was located, but I can say this: If you didn't already know it was there, you'd never find it in a million years. It is absolutely the most well-concealed location I've ever seen. And that's saying something, considering it's right in downtown Kansas City. All the credit goes to Slim Jim, a fellow explorer who somehow managed to find this thing.

Once we were inside, the tunnel was just as cool as I had imagined. It still had working lights, which we turned on, and it stretched away almost as far as you could see. The ceiling was made out of brick and arched from the ceiling to the ground. There were two tunnels, with one running on top of the other one, and we were in the upper tunnel. It was also the older tunnel, having been constructed in 1881.

We walked down the length of the tunnel, and the ground sloped up toward the roof as we went. When we reached the end, we were forced to hunch over as the ceiling was now just a few feet above the ground. At the end of the upper tunnel, there was a massive chamber where the two tunnels came together. There was a ladder there for climbing down into the lower tunnel, and Hiccup, youthsonic and I climbed right down.

The lower tunnel, although it was the newer one, looked much worse than the one above it. There were huge mineral formations hanging from the ceiling, which looked like six-foot soda straws. The floor was also pure mud, and it was littered with old beams and other debris. We walked the length of it as well, where it eventually ended in a a big pile of dirt.

We started heading back after that, although I stopped several times to get some long exposure shots of the lighted tunnel. Once we got back to the entrance, we found that we couldn't get it sealed up like it had been when we found it. LostLenore, youthsonic, and S1L3N7B0B had to leave, so we were forced to leave the entrance wide open for the moment, since it looked like it would take some work to get it sealed up again. So, Hiccup and I went back with them, then drove our vehicle back to the tunnel and sealed up the entrance.

All in all, the 8th Street Tunnel is definitely one of the coolest places I've ever been.

Comments, Pingbacks:

Comment from: youthsonic [Visitor]
Man, I wish you were around the day before... we explored 3 pretty damn cool caves/mines, and we would have had more time for the 8th st. tunnel.
Permalink 04/25/05 @ 16:30
Comment from: Kinetic [Visitor] ·
I've heard about this tunnel for years and have yet to find the entrance. I loved the pix though. I know you can't tell where the door is located but I wonder if it's close to the metal door that's located under the SB lanes of I-35 right below Case Park? I've seen that door opened a couple of times and wondered what was in there. BTW, you've got a great blog!
Permalink 04/25/05 @ 17:11
Comment from: Jeremiah [Visitor]
I have been in this tunnel. It is cool. I wouldn't of none about it unles the person that told me about it told me. We went down there not to long ago and it looks like it is still in great shape.
Permalink 05/12/05 @ 06:47
Comment from: Ryan B [Visitor]
I spent the day today looking for this tunnel with some friends. I looked all over the place for it. Walking around 8th and washington for blocks and blocks each way. We're first time urban explorers since we really don't know about anything in kc. Could you email me to where the location is? Or atleast a general idea?
Permalink 05/15/05 @ 21:40
Comment from: Josh P. Jones [Visitor] ·
Holy crapneto! That's the coolest thing ever. I would love to see some more photos of your exploration. Please email some!!
Permalink 06/09/05 @ 19:50
Comment from: Stockton [Visitor]
I believe the door is on the bluff, not actually along 8th st downtown.
Permalink 06/09/05 @ 22:12
Comment from: chris c [Visitor]
it took us 2 days to find it, me and a friend just did some research at the downtown library, and in one article that we found it tipped us off real well then i knew exactly where it was, but like people say you would not find it in a million years if u didnt know where it was, well actually 2 days if u really wanna find it, but its real cool.
Permalink 06/17/05 @ 18:57
Comment from: skrizach [Visitor]
jesus christ, learn how UE works. Don't be pissed because things have rules, jackass.
Permalink 06/18/05 @ 18:10
Comment from: tat2edwhitetrash [Visitor]
thats some killer tunnel, would love to make it there. hopefully by then it will still be there.

& chris c good job withtht P.S. I totally argee
Permalink 06/19/05 @ 18:11
Comment from: S1L3N7B0B [Visitor]
And you wonder /why/ no one told you where it is? Seriously...

Permalink 06/28/05 @ 17:52
Comment from: SkepticInKC [Visitor]
I'm not so sure you guys visited the correct tunnel. Cool pictures, but come on. A tunnel built in the 1880s still has working lights along the walls? And the lights just happen to still be connected to a power source that's still activated by the electrical company? Just find this hard to believe.
Permalink 08/04/05 @ 13:47
Comment from: white rabbit [Member]
It is indeed the correct tunnel, but obviously the lights are not from the 1880s. They were installed by the realty company that rediscovered the tunnel, basically to facilitate historical preservation.
Permalink 08/04/05 @ 15:47
Comment from: Dwight [Visitor]
Go to and look at some of the great pix of the tunnel when it was still in use. There are views at the west entering the bluff and at the east pulling up onto 8th street.
Permalink 11/03/05 @ 12:33
Comment from: Jessica [Visitor]
I am a sophomore at the Art Institute and I am working on my into to digital film final. The theme is Urban Legends and I could make one up but when I researched this tunnel I knew imediately that this is what I needed to use. I will not reveal the whereabouts to my class but I would really appreciate it if someone told me a little about the hidden location so I can find it. I would greatly appreciate it and so would my GPA. If no one can tell me the exact location can you tell me a way to find it through archives. I've been searching for 4 days now and I believe I am definitely searching in the wrong direction.
Permalink 11/08/05 @ 15:35
Comment from: Levi T [Visitor]
I have done alot of exploring around KC area (where i live) and I have found many tunnel entrances that intertwine with one another but this is the first time ive heard of one around the 8th and penn/washington street area. Has anyone followed it to another exit? Is it collapsed? Im gunna go follow it to the end soon, would anyone whos been down there like to help me map it out corinsponding with the other entrances? My email is Im probably going to go within a few days, if you want to go contact me by then. by the way, another cool place to explore is the Sauers Mansion. If you can get past the fence and the dog and into the wine cellar there is an old mine shaft that will go down there. From there you can go all the way to the plaza. Have fun.
Permalink 11/10/05 @ 12:10
Comment from: David Gridley [Visitor] ·
Years ago my brother and I walked the abandoned subway tunnels in Rochester, NY. At one time they stretched from downtown Rochester under Rundell library a few miles to an exit off Dewey Avenue tho they've since filled most of it in.

It was dark and cold in there but very cool!
Permalink 01/16/06 @ 15:51
Comment from: mobridge80 [Visitor]
The 8th Street Tunnel is not a secret. I've toured it several times with the company I work for. The lights as previously stated were added after the tunnel was rediscovered around 8-9 years ago. It has been stated that when the tunnel was rediscovered some of the old lights were working. I don't know if this is actually true, but that's what I've heard.

The East or 8th street entrance has recently been re-finished and the company that owns the property that the entrance is located on will give tours if a group of people contact them. There actually is no western entrance that I know of because the tunnel collasped when the downtown highways were built.

(Minor edit by WR).
Permalink 03/24/06 @ 11:48
Comment from: tunnelinfo [Visitor]
I am possilly older than most of those who are discussing this topic of the old tunnel at 8th street. Maybe this is one of those things that happen when you get older but to me the tunnel is not a myth because I remember it when I was a kid. What I remember about it is that it was a street car tunnel which had an elevated roadbed on the west side. The opening was in the bluff above Woodswether road. This street car track rose up out the industrial area which is to this day still referred to as the west bottoms. On the east end it exited in the middle of 8th street. On each side of this east exit was paved street for auto traffic. The tunnel as I remember exited right in the middle of the street. My mother would take my brother and I over from Kansas City, Kansas to go shopping downtown. Buses soon replaced the street cars so my street car riding was short lived but my mother knows perfectly well about the tunnel (she is 81). Transportation was different in the 50's. If a family owned a car they had just one most likely. Public transportation was the way to get around and first street cars then a dependable bus system came into being. Once buses arrived the tunnel fell from use. All thru high school that tunnel entrance on the west bluff was open to anyone who wanted to go there. Mostly it was used by homeless people I believe. To this day I could drive to the west bottoms and point to where the entrance was. I have been told where there is access to the tunnel by a friend who should know but have never tryed to enter it.
Permalink 05/01/06 @ 17:31
Comment from: mikro [Visitor]
great website. we took a kc trip today! i explored a good portion of the bluff for anything possibly related to this amazing looking/sounding tunnel, and came up with what appears to be a fox den! haha.. its a fun little crawl. perhaps someone here became desperate for results? just kidding, but be careful! that bluff is no joke, lots of vertical (hence the past need for this tunnel) so hold on tight (though i would just skip it). sounds like the best bet now is to set up an official tour as i'm assuming the (only) east entrance is now secured. kinda takes the fun out of it, but being a live cave thats the right thing to do.
Permalink 05/15/06 @ 00:53
Comment from: lann [Visitor]
yep that's the other entrance.
cracks me up that people didn't know that, i've know that for years, just never cared to go crawling in it.

the place was rediscovered in 1996. BUT oddly enough homeless people have been living in there for along time now.

i think the whole 1996 rediscover hoop-la was made up. allwell

there are about 8 other tunnels in the downtown area. some are caved in, filled in but some are still accessable.

tip: check out who built them and why. then you'll find the others.
Permalink 05/16/06 @ 21:55
Comment from: lann [Visitor]
HI ant and pete!
Permalink 05/16/06 @ 21:56
Comment from: josh [Visitor]
me and about 20 people went looking for this thing tonight. we didn't turn up much, but what a few of us did see was what i think might be this "fox den". thers a lookout at the park, but if you walk around the side of it, thers sort of a trail along the wall. walk around that trail to what looks like the only point you can go down about 5 feet or so. then right up againts the wall there's a hole that's about 3-4 feet high and about 2 feet wide. it goes in and at an up angle. would this be the right entrance? we didn't go in because there was a possum in it.
Permalink 07/20/06 @ 06:48
Comment from: repsac [Visitor]
The rediscovery of the tunnel was something of a historical blessing, now that we are sure it's still there and can preserve it with as little vandalism as possible. It's always bothered me that someone would knowingly paint upon or deface a part of history; but I digress.

At one point, the group which found the tunnels had sought to operate a trolley through them; charging a fee to let people ride. For some reason this fell through, but I think safety concerns were a major part of that.
Permalink 09/17/06 @ 19:10
Comment from: 8ththebest [Visitor]
I just love this blog about my fave tunnel. I knew about the east entrance and know where its at but never imagined a west portal was still accessible. Too cool! Thanks for all the chatter about this.
Permalink 12/25/06 @ 18:36
Comment from: jamesv [Visitor]
if you don't already don't know where it is and how to gain access, don't bother, security has been increasingly stepped up in the last few months and you will be unable to gain accessb
Permalink 01/09/07 @ 01:52
Comment from: Dan Smith [Visitor]
Just found this site and just wanted to comment on the 8th street tunnel. The tunnel may have just been discovered in the last ten years, but as mentioned it is well documented in KC history books.

I am really interested in touring this tunnel as I run a tunneling company and as a result I am really interested in tunneling history throughout KC and the world. Any fan of these tunnels should definately check out the sewer systems put into place in London when they finally went to a central sewer system in the mid 1800's. We're talking grand cathedrals of brick 30' in diameter that deserve to be photographed and put into art magazines, but instead are only seen by the occasional explorer or employee. Must be the raw sewage....

Anyways, back to KC. I plan to check out all I can see. I want to look at the turkey creek tunnels and the street car tunnels along the bluffs for sure.
Permalink 01/13/08 @ 13:06
Comment from: ann kayhill [Visitor]
Does anyone know who I can contact about getting a tour set up for the tunnel?
Permalink 01/29/08 @ 22:59
Comment from: Max [Visitor]
I know where the west portal is. it is just south of the Lewis and Clark viaduct on the bluffs above Woodsweather road. there are some websites that have clear pics that show the tunnel with truss bridge approach to the west portal.
Permalink 02/12/08 @ 23:06
Comment from: Me [Visitor]
I went to work for the KCMO Public Works Department in March 1963. One of the first things I did involved closing the (East) Tunnel Portal at 8th & Washington. At the same time we had a contractor from Topeka demolishing a bridge leading from the West bottoms to the West Portal

Brush Crek through the PLaza and on east is an interesting place with several long tunnel like structures. I was acquainted with an old City Engineer, Mr Nichols, who designed some of the Brush Creek concrete lining. One thing he told me about was the Ogee weir he designed (to let water change to a lower elevation without a lot of turbulence. Look for it.
Permalink 02/13/08 @ 23:12
Comment from: Sara [Visitor] · http://Visitor
I have been in the tunnle. I went years ago in i believe 04 or 05. my cousin and I and our boyfriends all decided to go explore it. The boys had already been there and thought it would be fun to show us. I was so nervous when we were sneaking into the area the door is at. From what i remember the door was huge (i could be wrong about that its been a while) but I definatly would have neeeever thought of looking for it where it actually is. The boys climbed down the latter and actually got their feet stuck in the mud. I was really worried about getting caught lol. we ended up getting out and away just fine. It was a blast and i would love to see it again but have heard security is much tighter these days. I didnt realize there was another entrance though. If you arent afraid of going to look for it and risk getting caught I highly recomend finding it and checking it out. VERY cool!!!
Permalink 10/30/08 @ 01:18
Comment from: sleepyone [Visitor]
dst systems owns this
thats who you will have to contact to get a tour
it doesnt sound like thier is anyway in other wise
Permalink 11/19/08 @ 22:08
Comment from: Hammer [Visitor]
I wonder where the tracks go, perhaps into the side of the hill?

check this picture i found

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Comment from: qin [Visitor] ·
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Permalink 11/17/09 @ 21:46
Comment from: W H Robinson [Visitor]
I rode strret cars thru the 8th strret tunnel from arounf 1935 to 1945. East end came out at 8th and Broadway. Originally, the syreet car tracks were elevated from the west end above 9th street to connect with the Central Ave bride acroos the kaw river--this elevated line was built sometime after the 1903 flood. Usage of the elevated trolly line stopped sometime in the late 20's or early 30's. Sometime around 1935, the elevated was torn down and a ramp was built to bring the tracks down to groung and street car service was resumed thru the tunnel. The 1950 flood killed traffic thtu the west bottoms but I lost touch with KC in 1948 or so.
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Permalink 11/29/09 @ 16:19
Comment from: Trolley Explorer [Visitor]
I just found this blog recently. The pictures and story are great. The photos in the gallery make a great tour of the tunnels.

I'm wondering how far down the lower tunnel the mudpile blocking further access was. Would it be past the east end of the upper tunnel? I'm wondering if that mudpile is where the Broadway entrance was closed off.

I also noticed in the gallery pictures that just before the mudpile in the lower tunnel that there is an overhead concrete beam and there seems to be some kind of discontinuity in the tunnel (walls and ceiling) at this point. I'm curious what that was for. I'd love to see more photos of this area, and have some comparison in location to the upper tunnel.
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