Ellinwood Journals

Underground in Ellinwood Kansas

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A December 1999 trip to Ellinwood by Casual Tourist

Ellinwood Tunnels Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas More Photos
Quote: When we first moved to Kansas, we heard rumors about an "Underground Town" in Ellinwood Kansas. Ellinwood is about 10 miles east of Great Bend. Just had to check it out!

Underground in Ellinwood Kansas

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Overview

Quote:
When we arrived in Ellinwood, we assumed that this great underground town we had been hearing so much about would be well advertised and easily found. Wrong!! It was a Sunday and most everything was closed. We did find a wonderful antiques store that was open. This store was well worth the drive to Ellinwood even if we never found the 'underground town.' The antique store owner did help us track down the guide to what we learned was considered as tunnels underneath the town.Quick Tips: Call ahead if you want to visit these tunnels. Tours are conducted only by advance reservations which can be made by calling Phyllis Miller at 785-564-2218. They require a minimum of six adults per reser...Read More
Ellinwood Tunnels Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas
Quote:
We finally located the guide to the tunnels and found that the entrance was from an alley behind a main street store. It appeared to be a simple, old-fashioned basement entryway. As far as I could tell, there was no entry for the handicapped, so if you are in this condition I would suggest that you reconsider a trip to see this sight. What we found to be the most interesting part of the underground was the tour guide. I wish that I had asked her name as she deserves credit for being a walking history book. She was knowledgeable about the artifacts that were displayed as well as the history of the tunnels. Apparently the tunnels were a big thing from the 1850's to the early 19...Read More

The Tunnel and Barber Shop

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Story/Tip

Ellinwood Tunnels Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas
Quote:
From the main room extended the tunnels. These tunnels ran underneath the sidewalk on Main Street. My understanding is that in the heyday of the town, the tunnels ran the entire length of Main Street and were quite popular with the townfolk.

The first room off the tunnel was set up as a barber shop and had several displays of artifacts. There were photos on the walls and newspaper clippings of past goings-on in the town.

One of the most interesting features in this room were the muzzle holes in one of the walls. Guess things weren't always peaceful in this little sleepy town.

Room with Bath & Bed display

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Story/Tip

Ellinwood Tunnels Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas
Quote:
The third room of the underground attraction contained an old-style bed along with some very old bathing fixtures. It seems that baths were actually taken at one time in this room. The porcelain tubs that were on display are regaining popularity with a lot of people. My daughter wanted one for her bathroom remodeling project but found the cost to be around $1000.

The old metal tub was a real antique. It couldn't have kept the water warm very long. Brrr -- wouldn't want to take a bath in it.

There was a beautiful lace dress displayed on the bed and a wonderful pitcher and bowl displayed on the wash stand near the bed.

Ellinwood Tunnels - Overall Impression

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Story/Tip

Ellinwood Tunnels Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas
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From the street one could not tell that there was anything unusual about this sleepy little Kansas town. The attraction was not earth-shattering, but someone went to a lot of trouble to clean up some basement areas of these buildings and arrange the displays. The only cost was that of a suggested donation.

We had a pleasant afternoon and enjoyed a bit of history that we never would have known had we not visited Ellinwood.
Ellinwood Kansas Photo, Ellinwood, Kansas
Quote:
If you are at all interested in antiques, there is a wonderful little store in Ellinwood with fabulous, one-of-a-kind items. We found a marvelous stained-glass brass hanging lamp at the bargain basement price of only $75.00. There were so many treasures hidden in this store that it is a shame that it is located so far off the beaten track of anywhere. If you are an antiquer, you may want to go to Ellinwood just for the bargains and wonderful treasures.