The Grand Central Corridor

The oldest operating hotel in Eureka Springs is the Grand Central Hotel, originally dating back to 1880. The original wooden structure burned in a massive downtown fire in the late 1800's and the historic brick hotel that we see today was built in its place. It was the first brick hotel in town. Like many of the original "Mud" Street establishments, the original ground floor is now hiding below the sidewalk.

The entrance and windows looking out to the Grand Central underground corridor were recently rediscovered during an extensive remodel of the basement. The tunnel runs along the Main Street side of the building and it is sealed and isolated from the rest of the Eureka Springs Underground. It is approximately 6 feet tall, 4.5 feet wide and about 72 feet long. It was difficult to get an exact reading of the length with my laser tape measure due to all of the spider webs! On the Northeast side of the tunnel, it is sealed off where Main Street meets the corner of Flint/Douglas Streets. This North wall appears original. However, the Southwest end of the tunnel turns abruptly to the right towards the street and then immediately dead-ends into a more recent wall of cinder blocks, dirt fill and water utility pipes.

The actual entrance is an old latched wooden door in the stone wall near the stairs. There is an overhead water pipe near the entrance and I could hear water running through it. I also noticed the same rusty support beams over the entrance that I have seen in other tunnels. These are used to support the stone sidewalk slabs above wherever there is an opening in the side walls. There is also a window in the Grand Hall that looks out to the tunnel that the Grand Central staff decorate with seasonal props throughout the year (pumpkins for the Fall, lounging plastic lizards for Summer, etc).

The hotel has a short history of "Eureka's Victorian Tunnels" posted near the window. It states that the Eureka Springs Underground is part of a Victorian Fire Code that required escape tunnels from building basements, but that the tunnels were also used for discreet visits from local brothels. It also states that there are miles of tunnels in Eureka Springs running along Main, Spring and Center Street.

Special thanks to the friendly folks at the Grand Central Hotel for letting me take a closer look!

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Entrance to the Grand Central Tunnel Grand Central Tunnel Corridor
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