Rhode Island February 13, 2018
An Unexpected Network Of Tunnels Is Hiding Underground At Brown University In Rhode Island
Brown University in Providence is respected as one of the top universities in the country. It was founded in 1764 and is well known for its curriculum, teaching, and research, as well as having Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame get her degree there. But did you know there’s an entire network of tunnels that run below the university campus?
Brown University on College Hill in Providence holds many secrets. One is their maze of well-preserved tunnels that run below the Ivy League University.
During the 19th century, the tunnels were built to transport goods and supplies around the campus. It prevented distractions and allowed the carts to move freely in the winter.
The tunnels were not only connected campus buildings, they also hooked up with the Crook Point Bascule Bridge and the East Side Railway Tunnel. Both are now abandoned.
This is what the eastern portal of the abandoned East Side Railroad tunnel looks like today.
The tunnels also once connected to the original East Side Trolley Tunnel. It is still in use today, but only for RIPTA buses. Its west end is at South Main Street.
The eastern end of the East Side Trolley tunnel pops up on Thayer Street.
This setting was said to be the inspiration for the Bat Cave in the original 1960's Batman television series.
The tunnels were expanded to include access for motor vehicles at Carrie Tower on the Brown campus.
There are plans to reopen the tunnels and expand them to Brown's Pembroke campus. The university is planning to refurbish the tunnels for the same reasons they were built in the first place, to avoid the East Side bustle and also the winter weather.
Did you know there was a labyrinth of tunnels under the city of Providence? If you want to see them in person, check the
Rhode Island Historical Society’s website for possible tours.