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Remember those awesome arc lamps lining the streets during the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s? Thanks to Euclid native, Charles Brush, these were brought from vision to reality in 1876. A later advancement in technology led to a man by the name of George Sweigert, another Euclid resident, inventing the cordless telephone right here in the city. Sometimes when researching locations, some amazing and interesting information can be acquired, but there is much beyond that, and in this case, most of it lies beneath the streets we walk on.
The city of Euclid, Ohio – named after the Greek mathematician, Euclid of Alexandria, founded in 1796 by a man under the name of David Dille. Dille was a former lieutenant from the Revolutionary War and was the initial owner of the land. In 1808, Euclid was purchased within the 3,000,000 acres of land bought by the State of Connecticut, and only a short year after, under Moses Cleaveland and 41 other city employees, was incorporated as a township.
During the mid 1800s, when companies began setting foot in town, factories began rising up and industry began, the need for a large tunnel system arose. These tunnels were dropped into place under the streets to serve as a main sewage system, also later becoming connected to a water treatment facility. From information gathered, it seems that Moses Cleaveland may have laid out these tunnels, along with the other 41 workers.
Entering these tunnels was like being dropped into a completely different world, where all was dark and nothing but a long bricked tube surrounded us. Voices echo for hundreds of feet in front of you with each step you take, and void of any sight of what may lie ahead, you continue on in hopes of great discovery. About 1.5 miles into this system, we had found an opening where we were able to view light peaking in from the streets above. I could hear large, metal beasts rushing across the manhole overhead, clunking the grate, rubber tires creating a loud and deep “TH-TH” sound as they passed, like an urban heart beat of the life above.
Almost 100 years later in 1903, 94 to be exact, Euclid was pronounced a village and held a population nearing 10,000. Nearing the turn of a new decade in 1930, just as The Great Depression struck, Euclid was announced as an official city, then holding a population of 12,753 residents. Previously considered to be more promising than Cleveland, this was quickly shifted when the completion of the Ohio Canal helped Cleveland push for dominance in 1827. Euclid now currently holds a population just over 48,000 in the year 2014.
Not only do interesting places surround us above ground, but at the same time so much sits beneath our own feet, while most of us go on for years without even knowing that any of it exists. These 150+ year old tunnels stretch for miles underneath streets, opening into various rooms, most of these corridors dark, reverberating eerie echoes of the footsteps of explorers. Tunnels are strange places, beautiful, haunting, eerie and terrifying all at the same time. You become entrapped by the mystery pulling you in, throwing you into a place where not only are you cut from human communication overhead, but the cell phone service is zero percent, you’re on your own and the adventure begins.