|Sean Kelly, an Engineering Technician Senior from Great Bend goes down one of the stairways into the tunnel beneath the City of Ellinwood.|
Running beneath the town is an abandoned underground city that was once home to barber shops, brothels, gambling joints, and a harness store. All these businesses were founded in the late 1800s (around 1887) and are connected by a series of well-built tunnels that are still open to tourists.
|One of the tunnel's stairways leading down into the city.|
KDOT began work on U.S. 56 in August and last month, KDOT staff had the opportunity to visit the underground city. During their tour, employees were able to document the condition and structural integrity of the tunnels. KDOT has a goal of preserving the historic site as well as limiting any impact that construction could make.
While construction on the $16.9 million U.S. 56 bridge replacement and four-lane reconstruction project gets underway, there is always a chance that more tunnels could be unearthed. Regardless, this nearly 130-year-old city will still exist below the surface.