Below this stairwell, Blake Hall Hold a secret. Here, come closer - we'll whisper it in your ear.

What Tunnels Snake Through Halls of Blake

By Jessica Teal

Lately, Rutgers Rarities has been very pre-occupied with thoughts of what lies beneath our stately campus. Evidence of tunnels and/or rumors of a tunnel network under the College Ave Campus have been an increasingly frustrating topic for the Team, who to this date have yet to explore the subterranean secrets of RU on the riverside. But what’s this cranking out on the RR newsfeed? We have proof positive of a “secret” tunnel? And on Douglass Campus, of all places?

Yes, yes. Once more, good old Douglass has again proven to be a literal treasure-trove of secrets and the RR Team doesn’t need a pirate’s map to show you where X marks the spot of a secret underground lair that contains gourds, tasty biscuits and a smattering of war time preserves, right under Blake Hall on Lipman Drive.

Blake Hall is the home of Landscape Architecture and Entomology. It also is the building above an old civil defense fall-out shelter that tunnels out under Lipman and connects with the sub-basement of Thompson Hall. The basement room that leads to the squarely-aligned tunnels was a stockroom and fall-out shelter in the mid 60’s. This room still contains some fall-out shelter supplies like aluminum cases of biscuits that were sampled and found to disagree with the sensitive palette of the slightly dumber, but braver half of the RR Team. “They taste disgusting- like disgusting horrible mold” was our noble chef de sou’s report on the fine baked goods. Some other food products found in this room were not necessarily war-time staples. The RR Team nearly banged their heads into strange, little dried gourds that were hung from the ceiling suggesting that some sort of Santería activities may have taken place in the shelter.

In the tunnels themselves, we found quasi-religious graffitti references that seemed to indicate that entrance to the netherworld wasn’t too far off. We also found “peep-holes” that allowed viewing into the main chamber from the tunnels, along with little strange tags that made it clear that students had broached these pathways before.

When all was said and done, the Team came away from the tunnels excited to have found some proof-positive of campus tunneling but very wary of what the threat of Nuclear War could force a person to subside on food-wise. Personally, if it came down to a choice between cannibalism and government-issue biscuits, I know I’d be whittling a toothpick out of somebody’s radius in no time.


Mechanical room entry to the winding underground tunnels connecting Blake and Thompson.

In front of and behind the door that leads to the fall-out shelter connecting to the chunnels (channel of tunnels).

Gloria Gaynor biscuits aka packaged mold - believe you me - they taste great until you eat them.

Panel storage-check, hanging gords-check, peep holes-check - yup, we found ourselves a fall-out shelter

I don't practice Santeria. I ain't got no crystal ball. I had some gords and hung them up...in old Blake Hall.

Highways and bi-ways under Blake. Go to hell, go directly to hell - do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Even Satan gets lost on his way down - this place is confusing!

Finally - a way out...and a giant rat cage...hooray!


©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005