Archives for: March 2006

03/30/06

Permalink 04:45:12 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1981 words   English (US)

kansas city and b & h underground

Many weeks back, Hiccup and I travelled to Kansas City to do a little big city exploring and see B & H Underground with Hiccup's brother-in-law CasperMilkToast.

Hiccup and I got up early that morning, loaded up a ton of gear for all the stuff we'd be doing, then grabbed a quick bite to eat. With that done, we drove the few hours up to the Kansas City area and Barracuda and Casper's house. They were up by the time we got there, and we let Casper grab a quick breakfast before we headed out.

The first place we hit was what we believed to be an old jail not far from Casper and Barracuda's place. Hiccup and I had driven past it with Barracuda once before, but Casper had actually checked it out previously. We parked off the road and walked on into the area. A neighbor outside burning trash called out to ask what we were doing, and we told him we were just taking some pictures and he didn't seem to care.

The building was old, and the roof had either rotted away or collapsed. It really did look like an old jail, though. The area was covered in trash and old junk. We poked around it a bit, but it was just a single building. As we were getting ready to head back to the car, the neighbor came over and talked to us a bit. He said he had just been paranoid because people were always coming out there and dumping trash. But he also said that he'd heard the building was an old jail as well.

From there we headed over to the Richards Gebaur Airport to check out some stuff in that area. There, first, we checked out some empty hangars. I poked around the back of them, but none of them had a way in. I could see pretty much everything there was to see through the windows, though. It was just a gigantic empty space.

Next, we drove over to another area where some steam pipes were running above ground. Casper had noticed what looked like tunnels down the hill. We walked down and checked it out, even popping a manhole, but there were no tunnels to be found. All we found was one large chamber that the pipes went into.

Our next destination was a large underground mine inside the city limits. Hiccup and I had been near the entrances before, but we hadn't had time to go inside. Supposedly, there was a spiral staircase inside the mine that came out in a cemetery above it. It sounded ridiculous, but I had heard the story from so many people that I had started to wonder if it was true. Either way, I was determined to give it a thorough look.

We parked up above the mine, then walked down through the woods to the entrance. We went on inside and started checking it out. It was your standard modern mine, big enough to drive dump trucks through, laid out in a grid pattern. Pretty much like the others I've blogged about here.

We came across a couple entrances as we were walking, but they were partially blocked with rubble. There was also a huge caved in area opposite of them. We basically just picked one of the walls of the mine and started following it. I figured if we just followed the interior wall of the mine all the way back around to our original entrance and kept an eye out, we'd see the spiral staircase if it was there.

We walked for what seemed like forever. The wall we were following was an irregular shape, so it wasn't a simple loop we were walking. We didn't see any spiral staircases, but we did come across something surprising. In a depressed area filled with water, there was a light on next to some pump equipment. All this time, I had thought the mine was completely abandoned, but it apparently wasn't.

In another area of the mine, we found a huge, long sheet of plastic hung upright from ceiling. It looked designed to keep dust from floating from one side to the other, and it stretched on and on for hundreds of feet. People who had been in the mine before us had cut strange shapes in the plastic in places. It was kind of bizarre.

In yet another part of the mine, we found yet more equipment with electricity still hooked up. Then we started coming across some excavating machinery and even someone's truck. The place was not only not abandoned, but they were apparently still doing some kind of work inside of it.

Eventually, we made it back to the entrances where we entered. It had taken forever, but we were there. And we had never seen the legendary spiral staircase. I was pretty disappointed and once again skeptical. We headed back up the hill to the car, tired, but still wanting to explore.

I wish I could tell you all what we did next. However, although what we did was our usual harmless trespassing, I am almost 100% sure I would go to jail if I talked about it publicly. All I can say is that we snuck into an off-limits section of a VERY public place to try and locate a legendary tunnel system. And we did, indeed, find it, although we weren't able to get inside thanks to a locked door.

After that, we went back to Casper's and rested for a bit. We ate a dinner of homemade calzone that Barracuda had prepared. Then we got our stuff together to go and check out our main reason for coming to Kansas City: B & H Underground.

If I had to make a top ten list of places I've explored, B & H Underground would be on it and fairly high up. It was a huge underground space that had been mined out of the limestone. But unlike the other mines we'd been to, this one had been finished up to contain offices, warehouse space, and other businesses. At some point, it was abandoned and had flooded with water that ranged from ankle-deep to almost up to my head, with office and business stuff floating in it everywhere. I'd only explored it once before with Slim Jim, but I'd been in love with it ever since.

We parked above the underground and down the street, then walked down through a brushy field to the entrance. When we were close to it, but still out of sight, we all suited up into the chest-high waders we'd brought with us. Some people liked to explore the place with a boat, but I preferred waders because I knew there were some places inside you couldn't see without them.

We tromped down inside the entrance, wading in up to our knees, and I found that the metal ceiling immediately inside had either collapsed or been purposely brought down to try and block the way. We simply climbed around it on nearby ledge and then hopped back down into the water.

There was an actual paved road that led into the underground, which was what we were following. Granted, it was under a couple feet of water now, but it was still there and it led all over the area. I knew from before that there were even traffic and parking signs in various places. The road forked as soon as we walked in, but we went up a nearby staircase instead that led into a finished office area. We needed a place away from the entrance to light the propane lantern, something I usually brought for these underground mines.

When that was done, we walked back down into the water and started following one of the forks in the road. We passed lots of finished office areas, which we stopped to check out, as well as inspecting some of the stranger junk we found floating around. We also came to an area with lots of wire cages that we'd called the zombie cage on our first trip. And when we came across a partially submerged, two-seat piece of furniture, I had Casper and Hiccup pose for a picture that I intend to have as a poster on my wall someday.

Eventually, we came to a dry area, where someone had left a flat-bottom boat docked. The boat had been down here the last time I had been there, but it hadn't seemed like anyone had used it back then. I knew some of the people in the area had been using it, though, but it supposedly leaked. And up behind the dry area where the boat was parked was another smaller entrance, just big enough for a person to come in through. I wasn't actually sure where that entrance was in relation to the surface.

At some point, we moved to a large open area of the mine that didn't have any office or warehouse space on it. Farther back in it, behind some walls, there was also another huge area that was completely unfinished, like they had just stopped mining abruptly. Around this area, I also found a strange graffiti that I'd seen the last time I was here. It was of a large white rabbit holding a dripping bloody knife. And before anybody gets the wrong idea, I don't spraypaint sites and it was there when I first explored the place years ago. It was still kind of cool to find it, though.

We made our way around to an area of the underground that had collapsed in a couple places. Here, there were also huge piles of trash and junk, like someone had been using it as a garbage dump for a while. Past that, we came up on an open area with a chain link gate for vehicles to pass through. I remembered that this part had the deepest water of anywhere else on our last trip.

As we waded out into it, we found that the water was MUCH deeper than the last time I'd been there. I'm over six feet tall, and the water was brushing the top of my waders. There were even a couple warehouse spaces right there that we couldn't explore, because the water would've been above them. I also got a good amount of water into my waders at this point when I was futzing around with the camera and tripod taking a long exposure shot. That pretty much convinced me it was almost time to go, although we were ready anyway since we'd followed the road back around to where we'd started.

There was one more cool thing I wanted to show Casper and Hiccup as we were leaving, and it was right near the entrance we'd used. There was a really nifty office, complete with drywall and tile ceiling, that was flooded with waist deep water. It was just the strangest thing to be walking around an office with water and junk floating everywhere.

Somewhere around this point, Casper asked Hiccup, "You're not afraid of snakes, are you?" I just assumed he was talking about the pieces of hose that we kept finding floating in the water, but I was wrong. Coiled up on a loading door was a small, green snake. I couldn't believe it. The water down here was filthy and polluted and smelled of sulfur, so I don't know how the thing was living down here. I found out later that it wasn't poisonous, but we didn't know that at the time and pretty much left it alone.

With that, we were done for the night. We headed back to the entrance, killed the lantern, and made the long walk back to the car. Then we headed back to Casper and Barracuda's to crash for the night.

Underground Ozarks Blog

Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.

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