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Pendleton, Or Underground Tours

Reviewing: Tour Underground Tunnels  |  Rating:
sizwizz By sizwizz on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 14 | Travel Gear & Planning Expertise:

In eastern Oregon, there's a city by the name of Pendleton. Many people are familiar with Pendleton wool products, which was started at the Pendleton Woolen Mills... which of course is in Pendleton, OR. However, many people do not know that there are 70 miles of tunnels that run under the historic district of the city. Not all of the 70 miles is restored for tours, but I must tell you...what they have opened is a wealth of Oregon history, and FASCINATING!

The tours are very inexpensive, about 10.00 for 90 minutes. It's a good idea to wear sturdy walking shoes, as the underground surface is uneven to navigate on. Once underground, you will be visiting tunnels dug out by the Chinese starting back in the 1870's. The Chinese used it for business, and to escape discrimination. Rumor has it that they could be shot at sundown if they weren't underground. The tunnels housed a Chinese laundry, opium den, and because they policed themselves, their own jail. Other businesses included an ice shop, and butcher shop. Eventually, the tunnels became home to an illegal saloon, card room, and some bordello activities. At one point the tour takes people above ground to visit the "cozy" rooms, which was a "boarding house" run by "Miss Stella". It's said that there may have been up to 18 bordellos and 32 saloons supported by a town of 3000!

I've been on the tour twice, and in June I have plans go again. Something to consider is that some tour guides are better than others. The first tour guide I had covered the basic history of the tunnels, and it was very interesting. But the second time I went, I had a guide that grew up in Pendleton, and added a few more personal tidbits that I found super-enjoyable. When you make a reservation, you may want to ask about the background of your guide.

I highly recommend this historic tour! You won't be disappointed!