Oregon Abandoned, History February 02, 2023
by Tessa Metcalf There’s An Abandoned Underground City Hiding In Oregon And You’ll Want To Visit
Have you ever wondered about the “underground”
history of Oregon that you don’t typically find in textbooks? Somehow there’s always a better story off the record. There are a few places still left in Oregon that bring that history to life—and one of them is the world-famous Pendleton Underground.
Hiding beneath the streets of downtown Pendleton is a secret district that has been around for more than 100 years. Today, you can take a tour of the abandoned underground city that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the past. It’s a fascinating look at the way life used to be.
Hidden away beneath the city of Pendleton, the Pendleton Underground is a network of tunnels that once was home to many secret businesses, both legal and illegal.
Pendleton used to be the entertainment capital of Eastern Oregon, and it's easy to see why when you spot the saloons and dance halls that used to lurk under the streets of the normal city.
The tunnels were built by Chinese workers who had been harshly discriminated against by the town's white population —to the point that it was unsafe for Chinese people to be out after sunset. In order to run businesses and move freely from place to place, hidden tunnels were built beneath the city, eventually forming a secret underground district that was home to both legal and illegal businesses.
What was born out of an unfortunate culture of discrimination became a burgeoning industry very quickly.
Throughout the Pendleton Underground were saloons, apothecaries, bordellos, a butcher shop, an opium den, and more.
That's right. While the rest of reserved Pendleton slept above, a wild time, and perhaps some light grocery shopping, was happening underneath the streets.
Today, the remnants of some of these businesses still remain, and some have been recreated to show what the Underground was like all those years ago.
It's fascinating to see this whole complex city created underneath the typical streets of Pendleton. And it sheds a lot of light on what the immigrant experience was like in Oregon at the time.
The long-abandoned tunnels were discovered in the 1980s when potholes began appearing in the roads above. What they found beneath was (and still is) downright fascinating.
Nowadays, you can see it for yourself by taking a tour with Pendleton Underground Tours. You'll be led through some of the tunnels by historians that'll fill you in on the history and lore surrounding this mysterious place.
The tours have been operating since 1989 so they've had decades to incorporate new research into the tour and to hone the material.
The tour takes about 1.5 hours and costs $15. This is one tour you won't soon forget.
If you were living in Pendleton at the turn of the twentieth century, would you have been sleeping happily above ground or partying wildly below?
To take a tour, you must first make a reservation. The office is located at 31 SW Emigrant Ave, Pendleton, Oregon. It’s every day except Sundays and Tuesdays. Find out more on the
Pendleton Underground Tours website or by calling (541) 276-0730.
Have you been to Pendleton Underground? We’d love to hear your first-hand experience of this fascinating underground town in the comments below.
Interested in Oregon history? Check out
11 historic hidden gems.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.
Address: Pendleton Underground Tours, 31 SW Emigrant Ave, Pendleton, OR 97801, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center
Abandoned Places In Oregon
February 08, 2023
Where are there other abandoned places in Oregon?
After investigating this abandoned and interesting underground city, check out these other fascinating and abandoned
ghost towns in Oregon.
Where are there haunted places in Oregon?
If you’re brave enough, or you’re a true paranormal investigator, check out these other eerie,
haunted places in Oregon as well.
Oregon State Hospital
Siletz Bay Phantom Ship
Geiser Grand Hotel
Fort Stevens State Park
Hot Lake Springs
Tryon Creek State Natural Area
Pittock Mansion in Portland