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BUSS: Old Drain #8

Hazard Level: 2

Main Tunnel Clearance: 2.5-3'?Tidal Coverage: only at outflow?Known # of Tunnels: 3 and a room
Hazards: Head Injury; Falling; tigth entries to confined spaces
Construction Materials: Cement, brick, granite, wood, steel/iron.
There is a sign for "sewage and stormwater overflow #8" fairly close to this drain, but we think it might be (there are two manhole lids about twenty feet from our entrance that do not seem to be part of this drain) an older and unlabeled series of drains. the two branches we have found that go away from the river end with brick walls (similar to Brewer Drain A) or were collapsed (similar to the end of one tunnel in Drain #11). Overall, this tunnel system is not very extensive. There are only a few passages that are blocked off a short ways in, but the old drains themselves are different than others we have explored around Bangor and Brewer. What we think we have in this small area near the railroad tracks is three generations of the same system of drains. We think that one was built, and for some reason another was built above it to replace the original. The original was collapsed a short ways in, or it collapsed on it's own over time. Sometime later a new version of the same drain was built a short ways away, and the second one was bricked up. We have not yet explored the latest verion... details of the older drains and tunnels interest us more at the moment, partly because of some stories we heard about tunnels near the Bangor waterfront.

Thats right.. segway to story time. We recieved multihand information from sources of questionable reliability that somewhere on the Bangor waterfront is a rather old builing with three levels of basements. Our informants tell us that the lower level of basements has bricked up tunnels that once led out of it. They would not tell us what building it was because it is still standing (though at the time of our first exploration we did not know if the building was still there). But they did say that it was on the Bangor waterfront, somewhere across from the Christmas House in Brewer, and that a friend of our informant lived in or had an office in the building. The building's location in relation to the Christmas House (used to be atop Wilson St Hill in Brewer, surrounded by rumors that it was part of the Underground Railroad, secret rooms and tunnels were found during it's demolition which confirmed the rumors to likely be true) and walled up tunnels in the deepest basement made them think that it might have also been part of the the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad rumors about the Christmas house, and the tunnel that was found have always interested us, so rumors of other such sites grab our interest as well.

We mentioned these rumors (at this time we were under the impression that it was a residential sort of building) to Spuds, another local explorer. He scouted out some areas near the river where buildings had been torn down and new appartment buildings were built where the old buildings once were, thinking that multiple levels of basements could come from building new buildings over the remains of older buildings. It's fairly common to find things like that in some cities. Here are some details from his scouting of the area:

"There is an interesting mound on the hillside/front lawn of the *********. No lid or shaft visible, but I made a straight line from the mound to the river, and sure enough one of those small outfall signs. On the street side of the railroad tracks, straight across from the outfall sign there is a short cement wall, about 3 feet tall, 8 feet wide. Wood debris and steel rail next to this wall. A couple of small holes in the debris. Look in the right hole and you will see what I saw-- the top of a brick lined shaft."

We like bricklined shafts that are hidden under piles of debris in areas that are rumored to have tunnels related to the Underground Railroad... so we sent Wally out with our newly developed Camera on a Stick Technology (CoST for short) to get pictures looking down into this shaft that was partialy visable through a hole in the ground. CoST is used when we find a hole that is not large enough for us to fit through but we want to find out what is inside and around a corner where we cannot see. He found what seemed to be a larger opening a short ways away and decided to return later with a flashlight. Here is his account of exploring this drain:

"The entrance I used to get into these tunnels is a small square hole in the ground. It is only about two or three feet deep, then the foot and a half to two foot square hole goes horizontaly into a small cave-like room less than a foot below ground. I found it easiest to sit with my legs going into the hole and slide in on my back and side. I did not measure the room, but it seemed to be about ten or so feet long (parallel to the road and tracks) and maybe six or so feet wide, only about two to two and half feet from floor to ceiling. The floor is dirt. the ceiling seems to be made from a combination of wood debris, railroad rails, brick, and tar. There are several small holes in the ceiling, and one larger one through which the top of the brick lined shaft is visable from outside. The walls are cement.

First thing I noticed when I crawled all the way into the room was that there were two tunnels branching off from it. One towards the river and one on the opposite wall going towards the road. Both were round cement pipes just large enough to crawl through. The one going towards the river was bone dry and looked like it was full of leaves further down. The other one was also dry and bricked up a short ways in. Then there was the iron-ringed hole in the floor near one of the far corners of the room. It looked slightly smaller than a standard sized manhole lid, and was indeed only six or seven feet deep. It opened into the top of a square tunnel running in the same direction as the other tunnels, from the river up towards the road appartment complex. Looking down I could see that the floor was muddy, the wall on one side was brick, and the other side seemed to be unworked stones stacked to make a wall. The brick lined part of the vertical shaft was tapered so it widened at the bottom and was narrower at the top, which could make it difficult to climb out since there were no step irons or anything. But the lower walls looked like they had some okay foot holds so I climbed down in.

The end of the tunnel that went out towards the river seemed to gradually become smaller and more clogged with debris sticking down from the ceiling, up from the floor, and out from the walls, so I saved that area for a later exploration. The other direction looked more interesting. Right in front of me was a short section where the ceiling was lower and made of large granite blocks... the walls in some areas were brick, cement in other areas, and at least one old wooden support beam built into the wall. Up ahead I could see that it turned into a slightly oval shaped brick lined tunnel. The floor all through here was very muddy with a lot of slugs, spiders, spider webs, and other bugs. The oval brick lined section gradualy turned to the left and after fifty or so feet ended with what looked like a collapsed or filled in section. There was a lot of debris such as broken pottery mixed in with the rocks and mud. It would be interesting to go back in there and see if we can find anything interesting, like the coins we found lodged in the pipe junctures of 'Brewer B'. The lower tunnel of this drain seemed to be very old and could have an interesting history"

A few things Wally cautions about with this drain:
-Drunks and homeless people have been known to hang out in the bushes around this area.

-The entrance Wally used to get into the room is a fairly tight squeeze and the easiest way he found to enter will leave your head exposed to the elements while the rest of your body is slithering into a hole in the ground.

-Drunks and homeless people are one of those elements your head could be exposed to while entering the room, or they could already be inside the room when you are trying to enter.

-while entering the room, your legs will be vulnerable to anything inside the room while the rest of your body is slithering in.

-Some things that might be found in this room might include, but are not limited to the following: an umbrella, rabid wild turkeys, rats, unfrozen TV dinners, booby traps, homeless people, old shoes, rope, illegal immigrants, and unmatched socks. The lower half of your body could be exposed to any of these things as you enter the room.

-Be carefull while climbing into or out of the shaft to the lower tunnel. Wally accidentaly dislodged one of his foot holds while climbing out and only managed not to slip and catch the underside of his chin on the metal top of the shaft or damage himself in some other way because he had his arm firmly anchored at the top and his other leg found a foothold before he slipped back in too far.

We recently found two tunnels on the riverbank close to this tunnel system. They are both about the right size and distance apart to be the other end of the two tunnels we found that led out towards the river. Both would only be large enough to crawl through, and they are half full of mud, dirt, and who knows what else. A new picture of these entrances has been added to the photo section of this page.
Photo of the small passage to the surface from the room.
Photo of the entrance to the tunnel that flows out to the river.
Photo, looking down the tunnel that flows out towards the river.
Photo of the bricked off section that goes up towards the road.
Photo, looking down into the tunnel at the bottom of the brick lined shaft. thats our camera strap in the lower right corner.
Photo, in the lower tunnel looking out towards the river. note the roughly built wall on the left, and granite ceiling. digitaly enhanced to brighten, show more contrast, and finer detail.
Photo, same as above, but looking up the tunnel in the other direction.
Photo, this was supposed to show the rubble filled end of the brick lined oval tunnel, but does not show it well because of the slight mistyness in the air.
Photo of the two tunnel entrances from the river. The one in the foreground leads into the lower tunnel (5th to 8th pictures on this page). We highlighted the one in the background to make it more visable in this image; that is the upper tunnel that leads to the room above the lower tunnel (2nd picture on this page).

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