An Up-Close Look At Duluth's Tunnel System

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2010 Updated Mar 6, 2009 at 7:40 PM CDT

The recent discovery of squatters living in an underground tunnel beneath Duluth's Temple Opera House leaves many wondering...just what were these tunnels used for?

LeAnn Wallace takes us inside.

Deep inside the basements of many of our downtown Duluth buildings you'll find tunnels.
Where do they lead?

And historically, what were they used for?

Most recently officials found squatters using one of the tunnels as a makeshift home.

"A small efficiency type apartment. It's unclear how the got there, but they will be advised to leave again under the rules and codes of the fire marshal."

What's also unclear is the tunnel's past.

"The exact history behind what is being called Duluth's underground tunnel system isn't exactly clear but a lot of people have their own theories."

As I got an up close look at part of the tunnel system, the building's owner and tour guide Rod Raymond, speculated about what might have gone on in years past.

"This is where some amazing stories, some moonshine, and I'm sure a few traditions were set down here."

Some say the tunnels were used to transport coal to heat downtown buildings.

Others told stories of gold, prohibition, and a way to keep cool during the summer.

Archive historians at the University of Minnesota Duluth say there are no records that indicate there were any sort of commuter tunnels underneath the city.

In Duluth, LeAnn Wallace, the Northland's News Center.

City officials say the tunnels are now used mostly for storage.