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8th Street Tunnel gives a glimpse into Kansas City history

Posted at 6:59 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-08 19:59:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Underneath Kansas City’s streets lies a piece of history unlike any other.

“It’s just an interesting artifact of Kansas City and it is right under our feet,” said Bill Nicks who portrays 1860’s Civil Engineer Octave Chanute on the tours.

The 8th Street Tunnel once housed a trolley line that carried people from the West Bottoms to downtown.

“People used to just barrel down through here on the streetcar going from the West Bottoms to work,” said Karla Deel, Founder of and one of the event organizers.

The tunnel closed in 1956 after operating for nearly 68 years.

“Many people have heard of the 8th Street tunnel,” said Nicks.

But few have actually been inside of it… which just adds to its intrigue.

This weekend 175 people will get a private tour of the historical space.

“We’re going to be bringing people through the tunnel in waves,” said Deel.

Groups will be led into the brick tunnel by Bill Nicks who rarely breaks character while playing Chanute. The 1860’s civil engineer who played an important role in Kansas City’s history.

“I like to think that I made Kansas City because I am the civil engineer who built the Hannibal Bridge which was the first railroad bridge over that treacherous Missouri River,” said Nicks as Chanute.

After the tour, the group will head to another historical site for cocktails and a history panel where they’ll get to view historic pictures of Kansas City.

“We will be displaying 300 of the 500,000 photos from the Wilborn photographic collection that have never before been shown publicly,” said Deel.

The organizers say they hope the event gives people a sense of appreciation for the work that went into creating the city we live in today.

“It just reminds us that there were people before us that made it the great town that it is,” said Nicks.

This event is sold out but organizers hope to have more similar events in the future.