Columbia <3s their tunnels, too

Whether you carry a crowbar with you on a regular basis or if you just gaze longingly at locked doors– If you’re interested in urban exploration at all, check out Bwog‘s celebration of Columbia’s tunnels here and here. Theirs don’t seem to be as intricately graffitied as Wesleyan’s infamous subterranean network, but tunnels are tunnels, and the allure remains the same. Bwog also sums up (very eloquently, might I add) the intricacies of student attachment to the tunnel systems, which could be why so many people flipped the fuck out when the Butts tunnels were repainted earlier this year. Dave Pesci, take note:

Subterranean in both the literal and figurative sense, the tunnels are the domain of a subversive and adventurous few–It takes a particular kind of person to want to go down here, and an even more particular kind of person to actually go down here. Tunneling therefore creates a sense of kinship with the past; an ironic sense of connection within a world that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything.

For more reading on Wesleyan’s tunnels, see here, here, and here. Also, not college related, but check out what looks to be a religious experience for any tunnel enthusiast: The giant tunnels under the Niagara Falls.

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6 thoughts on “Columbia <3s their tunnels, too

  1. Anonymous

    I used to be able to sneek into the maintenence tunnels between Clark and North College, except for a few locations:1. I never ventured into the round steam tunnel beyond the angle change beneath the manhole cover that runs directly under the pavement behind college row, as it was too hot, the pipes were covered with asbestos insulation and there’s no light, I just never got around to bringing a light or mask.2. Never beyond the door in North College because in those days Public Safety was in the basement of the building.3. Never ventured into the short tunnel leading to “Scott Labs” (aka Davenport Campus Center) as the floor always was wet and on the left were some 3-phase 440 volt electric conduit, too risky without light.4. From Mocon’s tunnel entrance to Foss Dorms, I have been in the room, but not beyond the next door, as it appeared to be alarmed as most of Mocon is especially when there is no one in the building. If they shut off the whole system to the building when it is occupied is not a question I have an answer to.5. Foss 1 to Clark, yes, it did exist at one time, it was bricked up on both sides (in Foss it’s a wall inside a storage room that was one day left unlocked) and there was no way to get to it other than to tear down the wall, and I wasn’t about to do that. Clark is basically the shape of a capital letter I (think times new roman font), if you look at the side facing the science tower, the points that jut out are both where the tunnel entrances are, one still existed before the renovation, the other was bricked up but was in a small closted room where a natural gas powered backup generator once existed. Also, the ground is not level outside the building in the shape of a path that leads from Clark to Foss 1. During a snowfall, snow would melt above this area, but not as fast as it would above the tunnel going under Church street to the science tower. That tunnel is very visible from above ground if you find the sign for Olin Library and look right across the street (assuming they kept the sign in the same location).6. Tunnels from somewhere in college row to the boiler plant on High street. On Occasion, the guys at physical plant don’t check to be sure the door leading down from the above ground staircase has been fully shut, obviously going down there was a risk as someone was down there nearly all the time, only way might be if it’s been left ajar during a holiday when all the staff is away like christmas or something. These tunnels are visible during the start of a snowfall as well.7. Butterfield to Science center and other Church Street buildings, I just couldn’t find the right neglected doors, but at the end of each side is a door that either leads to a storage room with an entrance or a maintenece room, there is a maintenence room in one side of a building which has a large boiler room in it, and has potentially an entrance to other buildings heading south on High street (rumor).I have heard that the Foss dorm tunnels are now closed, but at the time I was a tunnel rat, they were fully open and you could litterally walk from Foss 1 to 6, and 7 to 10, they had already closed off the connection from 6 to 7.Some other info:The tunnels under Wyllys Ave. I have been in once, and there used to be one from the athlectic building that had a cage door on one end (towards High Street) and you could see down a bit where it would make a turn to college row and head for North College.The tunnel in the 92 Theatre was a bit strange as it enters the basement (once one of the easiest entry points, but actually continued under the building in a very short tunnel that crossed to the other side (handy for when they fixed the cage doors).Another easy entry point was once the trap dor betweeun Judd and the 92. It was behind college row and had a very narrow staircase.Judd Hall exit was an easy exit at times.Olin was locked and alarmed from both sides. There is a strange little crawlspace under Chuch street when heading towards the science tower, it had a hinged plywood door, not a clue what that was for.The door in the Science tower is locked on both sides, but on occasion, Public Saftey would use this area during patrols to get back and forth from the old North College office and the door wouldn’t always fully close, I think this ended up in a maintenence room, so I went no further, also on the right, there is a drop-down tunnel, which becomes a crawlspace that has a bend in it, and ends above a storage room or laboratory (no light either).I would venture a guess that maybe a tunnel exists from Davenport to the frat buildings further down on Church Street, but not having venture further, I’m not sure, also, I would suspect that many of the buildings opposite college row on High Street are linked to each other as well, but I doubt any entrances can be found from Eclectic as often as the basement rooms get trashed by it’s occupants, any tunnel entrance there has got to be either well-hidden or fortified. The same might be said of the other frats, but I never ventured into any of those either.Anyone else want to complete the underground map?

  2. Anonymous

    I used to be able to sneek into the maintenence tunnels between Clark and North College, except for a few locations:1. I never ventured into the round steam tunnel beyond the angle change beneath the manhole cover that runs directly under the pavement behind college row, as it was too hot, the pipes were covered with asbestos insulation and there’s no light, I just never got around to bringing a light or mask.2. Never beyond the door in North College because in those days Public Safety was in the basement of the building.3. Never ventured into the short tunnel leading to “Scott Labs” (aka Davenport Campus Center) as the floor always was wet and on the left were some 3-phase 440 volt electric conduit, too risky without light.4. From Mocon’s tunnel entrance to Foss Dorms, I have been in the room, but not beyond the next door, as it appeared to be alarmed as most of Mocon is especially when there is no one in the building. If they shut off the whole system to the building when it is occupied is not a question I have an answer to.5. Foss 1 to Clark, yes, it did exist at one time, it was bricked up on both sides (in Foss it’s a wall inside a storage room that was one day left unlocked) and there was no way to get to it other than to tear down the wall, and I wasn’t about to do that. Clark is basically the shape of a capital letter I (think times new roman font), if you look at the side facing the science tower, the points that jut out are both where the tunnel entrances are, one still existed before the renovation, the other was bricked up but was in a small closted room where a natural gas powered backup generator once existed. Also, the ground is not level outside the building in the shape of a path that leads from Clark to Foss 1. During a snowfall, snow would melt above this area, but not as fast as it would above the tunnel going under Church street to the science tower. That tunnel is very visible from above ground if you find the sign for Olin Library and look right across the street (assuming they kept the sign in the same location).6. Tunnels from somewhere in college row to the boiler plant on High street. On Occasion, the guys at physical plant don’t check to be sure the door leading down from the above ground staircase has been fully shut, obviously going down there was a risk as someone was down there nearly all the time, only way might be if it’s been left ajar during a holiday when all the staff is away like christmas or something. These tunnels are visible during the start of a snowfall as well.7. Butterfield to Science center and other Church Street buildings, I just couldn’t find the right neglected doors, but at the end of each side is a door that either leads to a storage room with an entrance or a maintenece room, there is a maintenence room in one side of a building which has a large boiler room in it, and has potentially an entrance to other buildings heading south on High street (rumor).I have heard that the Foss dorm tunnels are now closed, but at the time I was a tunnel rat, they were fully open and you could litterally walk from Foss 1 to 6, and 7 to 10, they had already closed off the connection from 6 to 7.Some other info:The tunnels under Wyllys Ave. I have been in once, and there used to be one from the athlectic building that had a cage door on one end (towards High Street) and you could see down a bit where it would make a turn to college row and head for North College.The tunnel in the 92 Theatre was a bit strange as it enters the basement (once one of the easiest entry points, but actually continued under the building in a very short tunnel that crossed to the other side (handy for when they fixed the cage doors).Another easy entry point was once the trap dor betweeun Judd and the 92. It was behind college row and had a very narrow staircase.Judd Hall exit was an easy exit at times.Olin was locked and alarmed from both sides. There is a strange little crawlspace under Chuch street when heading towards the science tower, it had a hinged plywood door, not a clue what that was for.The door in the Science tower is locked on both sides, but on occasion, Public Saftey would use this area during patrols to get back and forth from the old North College office and the door wouldn’t always fully close, I think this ended up in a maintenence room, so I went no further, also on the right, there is a drop-down tunnel, which becomes a crawlspace that has a bend in it, and ends above a storage room or laboratory (no light either).I would venture a guess that maybe a tunnel exists from Davenport to the frat buildings further down on Church Street, but not having venture further, I’m not sure, also, I would suspect that many of the buildings opposite college row on High Street are linked to each other as well, but I doubt any entrances can be found from Eclectic as often as the basement rooms get trashed by it’s occupants, any tunnel entrance there has got to be either well-hidden or fortified. The same might be said of the other frats, but I never ventured into any of those either.Anyone else want to complete the underground map?

  3. Anonymous

    I used to be able to sneek into the maintenence tunnels between Clark and North College, except for a few locations:
    1. I never ventured into the round steam tunnel beyond the angle change beneath the manhole cover that runs directly under the pavement behind college row, as it was too hot, the pipes were covered with asbestos insulation and there’s no light, I just never got around to bringing a light or mask.
    2. Never beyond the door in North College because in those days Public Safety was in the basement of the building.
    3. Never ventured into the short tunnel leading to “Scott Labs” (aka Davenport Campus Center) as the floor always was wet and on the left were some 3-phase 440 volt electric conduit, too risky without light.
    4. From Mocon’s tunnel entrance to Foss Dorms, I have been in the room, but not beyond the next door, as it appeared to be alarmed as most of Mocon is especially when there is no one in the building. If they shut off the whole system to the building when it is occupied is not a question I have an answer to.
    5. Foss 1 to Clark, yes, it did exist at one time, it was bricked up on both sides (in Foss it’s a wall inside a storage room that was one day left unlocked) and there was no way to get to it other than to tear down the wall, and I wasn’t about to do that. Clark is basically the shape of a capital letter I (think times new roman font), if you look at the side facing the science tower, the points that jut out are both where the tunnel entrances are, one still existed before the renovation, the other was bricked up but was in a small closted room where a natural gas powered backup generator once existed. Also, the ground is not level outside the building in the shape of a path that leads from Clark to Foss 1. During a snowfall, snow would melt above this area, but not as fast as it would above the tunnel going under Church street to the science tower. That tunnel is very visible from above ground if you find the sign for Olin Library and look right across the street (assuming they kept the sign in the same location).
    6. Tunnels from somewhere in college row to the boiler plant on High street. On Occasion, the guys at physical plant don’t check to be sure the door leading down from the above ground staircase has been fully shut, obviously going down there was a risk as someone was down there nearly all the time, only way might be if it’s been left ajar during a holiday when all the staff is away like christmas or something. These tunnels are visible during the start of a snowfall as well.
    7. Butterfield to Science center and other Church Street buildings, I just couldn’t find the right neglected doors, but at the end of each side is a door that either leads to a storage room with an entrance or a maintenece room, there is a maintenence room in one side of a building which has a large boiler room in it, and has potentially an entrance to other buildings heading south on High street (rumor).

    I have heard that the Foss dorm tunnels are now closed, but at the time I was a tunnel rat, they were fully open and you could litterally walk from Foss 1 to 6, and 7 to 10, they had already closed off the connection from 6 to 7.

    Some other info:

    The tunnels under Wyllys Ave. I have been in once, and there used to be one from the athlectic building that had a cage door on one end (towards High Street) and you could see down a bit where it would make a turn to college row and head for North College.

    The tunnel in the 92 Theatre was a bit strange as it enters the basement (once one of the easiest entry points, but actually continued under the building in a very short tunnel that crossed to the other side (handy for when they fixed the cage doors).

    Another easy entry point was once the trap dor betweeun Judd and the 92. It was behind college row and had a very narrow staircase.

    Judd Hall exit was an easy exit at times.

    Olin was locked and alarmed from both sides. There is a strange little crawlspace under Chuch street when heading towards the science tower, it had a hinged plywood door, not a clue what that was for.

    The door in the Science tower is locked on both sides, but on occasion, Public Saftey would use this area during patrols to get back and forth from the old North College office and the door wouldn’t always fully close, I think this ended up in a maintenence room, so I went no further, also on the right, there is a drop-down tunnel, which becomes a crawlspace that has a bend in it, and ends above a storage room or laboratory (no light either).

    I would venture a guess that maybe a tunnel exists from Davenport to the frat buildings further down on Church Street, but not having venture further, I’m not sure, also, I would suspect that many of the buildings opposite college row on High Street are linked to each other as well, but I doubt any entrances can be found from Eclectic as often as the basement rooms get trashed by it’s occupants, any tunnel entrance there has got to be either well-hidden or fortified. The same might be said of the other frats, but I never ventured into any of those either.

    Anyone else want to complete the underground map?

  4. Sam Jackson

    My favorite columbia tunnel-fact: the tunnels were used to great effect for communication / smuggling during the 1968 student uprising. that was a really fun history paper…Very cool to see Wesleyan has sweet tunnels, too! MIT has the most user-friendly system, I’d figure.

  5. Sam Jackson

    My favorite columbia tunnel-fact: the tunnels were used to great effect for communication / smuggling during the 1968 student uprising. that was a really fun history paper…Very cool to see Wesleyan has sweet tunnels, too! MIT has the most user-friendly system, I’d figure.

  6. Sam Jackson

    My favorite columbia tunnel-fact: the tunnels were used to great effect for communication / smuggling during the 1968 student uprising. that was a really fun history paper…

    Very cool to see Wesleyan has sweet tunnels, too! MIT has the most user-friendly system, I’d figure.

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