A homeowner in the St Louis suburb of Alton, Illinois got quite the surprise when he discovered a tunnel, dating back to the 1800s under his home.

Speculation is rampant that it's as simple as storage for ice, a root cellar or a little more interesting speculation with Underground Railroad connections. A ferry once connected Alton, on the banks of the Mississippi River, with neighboring Missouri.

KTVI-TV reports on the finding and it's most striking feature

“A lot of brick,” said [homeowner] Gary Machens, who discovered the tunnel. “Whatever they built this for, it took a lot of men and a lot of hours. You know, one guy didn’t do this.”

“It’s unique, there are a few tunnels around the Alton area since we checked with the Landmark Historic Society,” Machen said.

Machens is open to the idea of opening the tunnel for tours if he can get the city or someone to help with logistics and cost.

We love the idea of considering opening the tunnel up for a tour and not keeping this special history locked away.

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As an old river town, Alton has its share of ghost stories and legends. Many are chronicled in the book Haunted Alton which Amazon describes as

Author Mark Twain once referred to Alton as a "dismal little river town" but today, the city is designated by a more colorful description -- as one of the most haunted small towns in America! Join author Troy Taylor as he uncovers nearly two centuries of history and hauntings along the Mississippi River with stories of death, murder, disease, violence, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad and of course, a myriad of ghosts and hauntings. Discover new and classic accounts of haunted places like the Mineral Springs Hotel, the Cracker Factory, the Underground Railroad, the First Unitarian Church, the old Alton Penitentiary, the Enos Sanitarium, haunted houses, schools and graveyards

The spot most mentioned as being haunted in McPike Mansion.

RiverAndRoutes, the tourism bureau for the Metro East region, as the Illinois suburbs of St Louis is known calls Alton the most haunted small town in America, sharing

That isn't an unusual sight in downtown Alton. The city is considered "One of the Most Haunted Small Towns in America." So take your authentic ghost hunting adventure to the next level. Get a glimpse of the shades, shadows and souls that reportedly walk the historic streets and haunted the ancestral buildings of the region. Experience Haunted Alton for yourself!

There could be no more fitting addition to the already rich haunted history of Alton than to add in an unexplained tunnel.

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