River des Peres North of Forest Park

January 26, 2010

Today, to follow up yesterday’s post, I visited a tunnel entrance south-west of the strip mall at the  intersection of Vernon and Kingsland.  This turned out to be closer to the intersection of Harvard and Dartmouth.

Harvard and Dartmouth

Just across the street from this sign is a driveway leading up to a small lot with a footpath pointing towards the aforementioned strip mall, a Vernon backyard, and a gate on the west side in front of some woods.  The driveway was impressive mostly because it appeared to lead nowhere.

Entrance to River des Peres Tunnel Access

Through the gate, a winding, short path leads to the top of the tunnel.  I was sad not to see a date inscribed anywhere, but being left with questions is nothing I want to complain about.  I wonder where the other two tunnels at the Macklind Pump Station begin and even if this is in fact the last place the river sees the light of day before reaching that pump station.

River des Peres Looking West from the Tunnel Entrance

After leaving this tunnel entrance, I decided to visit another spot I had found while living in U-City last year, in order to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.  Accessible from Chamberlain Avenue, this tunnel continues a series of several tunnels covering this particular drainage ditch, sending its contents south under Olive next to B & K Tuckpointing.  This tunnel is a fair amount smaller than the others I’ve been visiting recently, but it has a feeling of history and an urban character that made revisiting it more than worthwhile.

Tunnel Under Olive between Kingsland and 66th

My other photos from today’s exploration can be viewed here.


  1. I like your shots. I grew up in U. City, from 1948 to 1969. I found a lot of your shot locations on Google Map:s street views. I am wondering why you chose to follow a small tributary of the river north of Olive where it quickly disappears, instead of northwest through Heman Park, crossing under Midland, paralleling Wilson Avenue, under the Shaftsbury bridge, behind the high school, and points west. Did you know that many years ago a tributary ran directly north of Olive up the center of Kingsland? Somehow, the river made its way east where I remember it running in a ditch, between and behind residences on Cates and Cabanne under the not-yet-paved Vernon Avenue. That’s why Cabanne, Cates, Vernon, and Clemens run at a odd angle, instead of straight east and west. It’s my guess where Vernon meets Skinker, the underground river turns southeast and runs under Des Peres Avenue, paralleling the old Wabash railroad trench (now Metrolink), and flowing through Forest Park, continuing south and becoming the larger River des Peres in south St. Louis. In fact, I’d wager to say that the Wabash trench was once the riverbed before the tracks were laid and the river was put in a calvert under Des Peres. Is there any light you can shed on this?

    • Thank you for sharing! I like your theory about the RDP’s path and would love to find more. If I stumble upon something I will certainly email you.

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