BUSS: More Tunnels?
We have heard some rumors that there may be more tunnels and drains emptying into the river near Eastern Maine Medical Center. According to our sources, there are several tunnels... they were described to as being "small tunnels, but some are large enough to go into". Our sources also told us that about twenty-five years ago, the tunnels often discharged large amounts of blood, discarded body parts, and other medical waste... but that was twent-five years ago and we heard that the ends of the tunnels might have been covered over but they did not know for certain.
There are several "Stormwater & Sewage Overflow" tunnels scattered around Bangor. At least a couple of them have been found and detailed by us... PO-Drain is #11, the tunnel at the end of the Canal is #6 and #7, and one of the other tunnels in the Canal might also be a "Stormwater & Sewage Overflow" tunnel. So there are at least eight more... where are they? well, to find them, just look for the signs... "Stormwater & Sewage Overflow" tunnels are marked on the shore above them by a small sign that says something like: STORMWATER & SEWAGE OVERFLOW #X (X is the number of that particular tunnel)... or look for tunnels and when one is found, check to see if it has one of those signs stuck to the cement above the opening or planted in the ground above the tunnel. We have found at least one more of these tunnels (#8) by canoeing in the river and staying close to shore. Tunnel #8 is in a small cove behind the small shopping center that's next to the newest bridge. It is best to go looking for these tunnels when the tide is low, otherwise they might be submerged under several feet of water. Also, we have found the sign for tunnel #5 but have been unable to locate the tunnel. The sign is on the corner of the docks that are out past the mouth of the canal.
Does the University of Maine's Orono campus have steam/utility tunnels? It must... it has a steamplant that's separate from the rest of the buildings... We will certainly have our underground agents look into this.
Are there utility tunnels under downtown Bangor? We think there might be... our reasoning is simple... there are no telephone/electric poles in the downtown area and there are these big metal trapdoors all over the place, and many large manhole covers that have the telephone company's name on them. If there are not tunnels under these then there must at least be rooms of some sort. We have heard that some of them lead into the basements of buildings to make it easier to unload stuff into basement storerooms. One of these trapdoors in downtown (near Cadilac Mt Sports) is directly in front of a building lot that now has a small park instead of the building that used to be there, tucked away between the downtown buildings. If this lead into that building's basement, where (if anywhere at all) does it lead now?
There are a couple alley ways in downtown Bangor that have manhole covers that are fairly out of view from cars passing on the streets. One place is the alley that's behind the small parking garage on Columbia St, right across from the Columbia St Baptist Church. It is an old and heavy looking, slightly dome shaped, slotted manhole cover. It is not nearly as heavy as it looks and the tunnel below looks fairly dry, brick lined, and large enough to at least crawl through.
We have heard a rumor of a large room under a hill someplace in Bangor. Our source caught the information second hand during a college lecture and that is about all we know of it. We suspect that it might be one of several things... maybe a cistern, or a bomb shelter, maybe some type of storage room, or an underground place to service trollies which once ran through downtown Bangor.
We have also heard, from several sources, another rumor about rooms or cisterns under Bangor... this rumor is that during the mid-1900's, at least two large cisterns collapsed under downtown Bangor. Weight limit signs on State St hill going into downtown lead us to believe that one of the collapses might have been there and it was rebuilt. We heard that the other one was someplace near Columbia Street.
For many years, there was a rumor that a large house in Brewer (on the hill just across from the newest Bangor-Brewer bridge) was once a "station" of the Underground Railroad (a network of people in the US, who during the 1800's helped escaped slaves make it to freedom. Safe houses where the escapees would be hidden away and smuggled further north were called stations). It was rumored that this building had a secret tunnel that led down to the river from it's basement. Several years ago, this building (a lovely old brick home sitting atop a hill) was demolished so the road could be widened a bit and a small park built in the building's place. Before the old place was demolished, a secret room was found in the attic; and though to our knowledge, no tunnel was found in it's basement. However, during road work, the workers uncovered a brick lined tunnel that was not on any city maps. Several days later (and before our underground agents had time to investigate) a large square block of granite was placed over the tunnel.
Another history lesson given to us by one of our many informants... The amount of truth there is to this, we don't know... but it is an interesting story. In downtown Bangor, on the corner of Main st and Union st, there is a large brick hotel-looking building known as The Bangor House. It is currently an old folk's home, but in it's early days it was a hotel and a brothel. Across the street from this building, is an old church and a smaller old building that now houses the Penobscot Theater Company. The building that is now the Penobscot Theater Company use to be a church or some kind of important city building. Important city officials could sneak into the brothel by going into the building that's now the Penobscot Theater, down to the basement, and through a tunnel that went under the road and into the basement of the Bangor House. Our informant and others looked for this tunnel in the basement of both buildings and the adjacent church and found no secret tunnels but they may have collapsed long ago, been built over, or very well hidden and still intact.
There are several Cold War era fallout shelters around Bangor. Some buildings still have the little black and yellow fallout shelter signs above doorways, but some do not. The school that use to be Garland Street School (several years ago the name was changed to some muckety-muck memorial junior high school) is rumored to have a fallout shelter under it, but that might be gone now since they did major additions to the school to go along with the change of names.
The building that use to be the Bagel Shop, on the corner of Main st and Hammond st, has a fallout shelter sign above it's front door.
The building on Harlow st that is now Norumbega Hall (previously known as the Sears Building)has a fallout shelter in it's basement and several tons of radiation fallout survival gear stashed in an area between the false ceiling of the ballroom and the real ceiling. In one of the back rooms there is a wooden scafold-like construct that leads up to a hole in the wall, which goes to a catwalk that goes across the area between the false ceiling and real ceiling above the ballroom. The survival gear was there several years ago when they were turning the long abandoned Sears Building into Norumbega Hall, but it might have all been moved since then.
The Maine Discovery Museum (also known as the Freezes Building) is said to have a very large fallout shelter under it. Our informant tells us that it is very extensive, with several sub-levels and tunnels, and a tunnel that leads out to a metal trapdoor in the sidewalk, as well as a tunnel that leads a couple blocks from the freezes building to where the old city hall was on the corner of Columbia St and Hammond St (that building was demolished years ago and turned into a two story parking garage).
Far and away from Bangor, but a lead that interests us very much... we do not have much on this one, but we are looking into it as much as we can. This is what we were told: years ago, under the city of Portland, Maine; construction began on a subway system. several subway stations and tunnels were built before the city decided it did not need a subway system and scrapped the project. The tunnels are supposedly still there, waiting for a time when the city wants them again... or waiting for people like us.