Tunnel #1

I call this tunnel Tunnel #1 because it is directly connected to the McCracken Power Plant. I would suggest this tunnel for any firsttime tunnelers. This tunnel is relatively clean, compared to other tunnels. The walkways are pretty wide in most parts. I won't tell you on this page how to get into this tunnel, thats up to you. Let me just say that next to one of the buildings on campus, there is a giant metal hatch. Although the hatch has a lock on it, it's not locked. Find the hatch and you'll see why it's not locked.

A Guided Pictorial Tour

At the beginning of Tunnel #1 is a gate connected directly to McCracken Power Plant. Supposedly it's alarmed with motion detectors, according to this memo hanging on the other side of the gate:

North & South Tunnel Gate ProcedureGate to McCracken
The north & south tunnel gates alarm system is now in service. The alarm on this system will be activated by any motion of the tunnel gates. When the system is activated, the receiver annuciator in the power plant turbine room will give an audible signal and the annuciator will flash until the alarm is acknowledged and reset. The on/off switch is inside the door of the annunciator panel. Check the doors to ensure that they are latched prior to energizing the alarm system. In the event of a false alarm, immediately notify the police dispatch at 2-2525 that it is a false alarm. Place the system in service from 5 PM to 7AM daily. On weekends and holidays, the alarm will be in service 24 hours per day. The system is tied into the police station and they will call you when an alarm is sounded. Note the time and which gate has alarmed. Call the OSU police and report an illegal entry. Log the results on the police inspection.

OSU Communications Date: Aug 28, 1985
To all Power Plant engineers:
The campus police have reported an increase in false alarms from the tunnel gate alarm system. Continued false alarms could result in an increas in police response time or disconnection of the alarm system from the police headquarters.
The engineer who turns the system on shall check the doors to ensure that they are latched prior to energizing the alrm system. In the event of a false alarm, call the police dispatcher at 2-2525 immediately and report the alarm as a false alarm. Failure to follow this procedure will result in disciplinary action.

Now, I don't know if it's still alarmed or not, after all, this note was from 1985. But just in case, don't go around shaking the gates.


Mmmm! Doesn't that look nice! A bit of decayed asbestos! Just one more reason to steer clear of dripping liquids, you never know what it might do to you...Sure it may LOOK like water, but you don't want to go for a swim in an acid bath do you?

There are many tiny sized passageways leading off of Tunnel #1. They are about 3x3 feet. I ventured into one of them once, and eventually I ended up crawling on my hands and knees very slowly. After about 45 minutes in this particular tunnel, I came to the exit. Looking around to see what new place I was in, I discovered I had emerged back into Tunnel #1. Majorly disappointed, I decided never to venture into those little crawlways again.

However, when making the map of Tunnel #1, I could only find an odd number of tiny tunnels, which means that two lead to the same exit, or one leads off somewhere else. Explore them and get back to me!

If you do decide to venture into these small tunnels, make sure you take a good flashlight, because it's pitch black. Also watch out for pipes that jut down from the ceiling. Even when crawling, these pipes kept snagging my backpack, and one time the scraped up my back really bad.

Outside the tunnelIn Tunnel #1 there are three ladders in one particular hallway. At the top of each ladder is a little brick/concrete enclosure, with a giant grate on two sides. These give a pretty interesting view of the Towers, but you are very visable while in this enclosure. There is also a hatch that leads out of the tunnels on each one. You can't open them from the outside, but considering how easy the handle is to push from the inside, I'm sure you could slip an extended coat hanger through the grate and fanangle it around until the hatch comes open.

These enclosures might seem like a good place to get out the tunnel, but notice that you can only see whats happening on two sides. Sure, you may not see anyone through the grates, but unless you can see through the brick wall, I wouldn't risk exiting this way.

Steps over PipeEvery so often, one of the large steam pipes crosses the hallway, barring your path. The physical plant workers were kind enough to provide steps to climb over them. The pipes are pretty large, so once you climb the steps you have to straddle the giant pipe and climb over. The metal plate covering the pipe here can be fairly hot. It's not there to protect you from the pipe, it's there to protect the pipe from you.


Right inside the entrance to Tunnel #1 is a boiler room, which houses a sparkling white beauty of a boiler, which was installed on Dec 4, 1998.

For some reason, the main steam pipes will turn into the way, go back a ways, turn again and come right back out where they where. Again, I don't know why. (You'd have to see it...)

Electric Room

Make sure you check out the old electrical room. Don't worry, as the sign says, "All electric is gone." The hand shaped structure in the far right corner is kinda creepy. This whole room actually kinda looks like a prison cell.

The End

If you venture all the way down the tunnel, be prepared for a big disappointment. It dead ends. I'm guessing that the tunnel continues on the other side of the wall; I've already mentioned that the point of the tunnels was so that the pipes would have a place to be, instead of just in the ground.

Map of Tunnel #1

There you have it. A tour of Tunnel #1. Feeling frisky? How about exploring the Main Tunnels ? Any stories, suggestions, comments or if you want to explore OSU or Columbus, send mail to: underosu@geocities.com

(Tunnel #1 Page last updated, Jan 13, 1999)