This article was last modified on September 3, 2009.

On the Appleton Catacombs

In 1997, my friend Jason L. and I were regular customers at a coffee shop on College Avenue in Appleton called Wired that catered to the fringe culture in Appleton. Some of the people were strange, some eccentric and some downright scary.

One man we met called himself “PsychoRat” (I believe his actual name to be Ryan Young). He told us that he had at one point, before cutting off his own tail, been a human-rat hybrid and had been part of a government project underneath the streets of Appleton. The tunnels below were heavily guarded and in one passage there was a “white dragon” that somehow had a connection to the Pope. After escaping the tunnels, the man painted a picture of the dragon and sent it to the Pope, feeling his Holiness would understand the symbolism.

PsychoRat was, and possibly is, obviously delusional. He told us the entrance of the “catacombs” (his word for the tunnels) was underneath Riverside Cemetery. While the story he told was largely the product of an insane mind, it does happen to be the case that tunnels did or do exist under Appleton.

Riverside Cemetery

Alongside Riverside Cemetery (by the river) is a path where nuns used to light fires and walk at night. Also along the way, there does appear to be a tunnel running under the cemetery. However, this passage is caved in and it is impossible to know what is behind the rubble without extensive digging.

Foremost Farms

The story of PsychoRat, the catacombs and Riverside Cemetery was retold by myself and Jason to our friends countless times over the following years. Those who are familiar with my fiction writing know I have worked it into my novel Breathing Together. But aside from this small piece of the puzzle, we had more or less put the issue into the back of our minds. At least until February 2008.

Jason, a security guard for Securitas, was given a new assignment at Foremost Farms on John Street, behind Lawrence University (and like Riverside Cemetery, along the Fox River). He relayed to me an interesting addition to the catacombs story.

The owner or caretaker of Foremost Farms supposedly told one of the previous security guards about the catacombs and warned her not to go venturing into them because of the risk of the ceiling collapsing. The guard who trained Jason relayed that story to him to warn of the safety risk. Jason says it “sounds pretty legit”.

Since being told about the tunnels, Jason has been looking for them off and on when he does his patrols there and he has yet to find them. However, says Jason, “I don’t really venture too far back into some of the darker areas in the basement because I don’t have a very strong flashlight and once you get back there it’s pitch black. It’s creepy enough that I don’t really want to venture down there alone, either. I’m trying to stop being afraid, but it’s pretty creepy and like I said I don’t really have a strong enough flashlight for an expedition like that. I have an idea where they might be, but I think they might also be sealed off like the other ‘supposed’ entrances.”

So now another piece of the mystery has been added.

200 Block of College Avenue

On February 28, 2008, I consulted with a reference librarian from the Appleton Public Library regarding the two previously known tunnels (Foremost Farms and Riverside Cemetery). This librarian informed me of an article “that appeared in the Post-Crescent on May 17, 1977, page D-1, ‘Tunnel Still a Mystery.'” I present to you that article, by Mike Hinant, in its entirety:

A question for local historians: Was there ever a bank, or perhaps a jail, in the 200 block of E. College Avenue? On the north side of the street and in the middle of the block? If so, that might be one explanation for a small, mysterious tunnel found recently at the demolition site of a 107-year old [1870] building at 217 E. College Ave., a structure situated on the south side of the street.

Workers found the approximately 3-foot-by-3-foot opening in the wall of the basement at the front of the building about a week ago. The discovery not only raised their curiosity, but also the interest of the president of the Outagamie County Historical Society and City Engineer Tom Harp.

Harp, who took a look at the tunnel last week, came away as uncertain of the narrow crawlway’s origin and purpose as before he viewed the opening. Earlier he had offered the “hunch” that the tunnel may have resulted from a “failure” of some kind, perhaps a washout, because no timber shoring was found in it.

The tunnel, about five feet below ground level, extended about 20 feet beneath the sidewalk, then seemed to angle downward, in a north to northeasternly direction, below College Avenue.

It was difficult to tell where (if anywhere) it went at that point, however, because the clay-sided crawlway was almost completely filled with dirt. Harp said it’s possible the tunnel had been dug by someone, though he couldn’t guess when or why. “It could be almost anything,” he said, adding that the fill found in the tunnel may have been the result of reconstruction work on College Avenue 10 years ago [1967]. Sanitary sewers also were put in at that time, Harp noted. “I don’t know if it has any historical significance,” the city engineer said.

Neither does Carolyn Kellogg, president of the county historical society, or local historian Lillian Mackesy. Kellogg said “a lot of weird suggestions” were advanced after the tunnel was discovered to explain its existence. Those suggestions included the theory that it may have been a remnant from “underground railroad” days, when slaves who escaped to the North were often hidden by sympathizers. Mackesy ruled out that likelihood, however. “Not in Appleton,” she said. “In Milwaukee, maybe. But we voted against Lincoln here 5-1. In fact, this county was in favor of the Fugitive Slave Act.”

As with Kellogg, Mackesy said she has “no idea” why the tunnel was dug, if indeed it were dug by someone. She wondered if perhaps the narrow tunnel had been dug for use as a fire-control cistern or as a sewer. Mackesy said she knew of no bank or lockup ever being located across College Avenue in that block.

Whatever its origin or purpose, the tunnel found in the basement of the razed building is being closed. Harp said Monday it would be filled for reasons of safety. “I’m surprised it wasn’t discovered when the street was reconstructed.”

There is no way to be sure if this third tunnel is in any way connected to the other two, but the 200 East block is not very far from the other two tunnels. So, however unlikely, it may be true that they are linked. The librarian continues:

The references to Foremost Foods and Riverside Cemetery could refer to walking trails that run along the Fox River from the site of the old Foremost Dairy plant, beneath the College Avenue Bridge, and below Riverside Cemetery. I have never seen or heard any evidence of tunnels at these locations.

I am not in any way making reference to the walking trails. We are talking about subterranean passageways, not trails.

August 3, 2009: More on Riverside and a New Entrance

I was contacted by a woman on July 31 who informed me that a friend of hers (identified as “Zach”) “had run into some people one night in Riverside Cemetery. They were looking for an entrance to the sewer underneath. They wanted to map it out… and I had mentioned that to someone who has also heard of the catacombs. He thinks that would be how you would enter them..” Going in through the sewer had never occurred to me. Contacting the Appleton authorities on sewage tunnels might be a good idea.

Three days later she reported to me that another friend (identified as “Tyler”) “began to tell me about the last known entrance to the catacombs. Apparently his father would go play with a neighbor boy who’s basement had the last known entrance. They would go play in the catacombs sometimes… The current owners of the home now have since sealed the entrance shut with a cement wall. The current owners are apparently the once young boy that Tyler’s father played with. I guess the tunnels run all all over the city of Appleton. They were not structured extremely well by any means, though. And I guess there are a few that interconnect with Kaukauna…”

It goes without saying that it is crucial to find out which basement these old tunnels are in.

September 2, 2009: More on Foremost Farms

I received an e-mail from someone I will identify only as “Chris”. He has picked up the adventuring where I had left off. Chris reports that he and his “friend Adam have been touring the Foremost Farms plant site on John Street the entire summer almost every night with either Jason or the other guard Rick. Being that we are not easily afraid and are somewhat thrill seekers, they allowed us to go through the building on security runs during the night finding and locking any entrances that possible trespassers and vandals may have found. In our searches one night with Rick, we went all the way up the stairs to the 3rd floor of the building and down to the basement where I felt strangely drawn to one particular area that didn’t quite click with the construction of the building. Unfortunately, before we could investigate further, Rick decided to move on to the next area. But in a stroke of luck a few nights later we met up with Jason on his security run. He decided to let us in with him because we had told him of our previous enterprises within the building and he had previously mentioned you and your studies upon the subject. Being a history buff and major, I decided to snoop around inside the basement, and this is what I discovered: the brickwork in the basement and the arches created style goes back to early 1800s Appleton and they match almost exactly with the arches found in the basement at the pavilion in Appleton’s Peirce Park, as well as the tunnel between Appleton West High School and Wilson Middle School. The hallway and room struck me as odd; why would such brickwork be in such an obviously much younger building? On the right of the door out of said hallway there is what appears to be a large water tank or cistern. The problem I find, from what my drafting, publishing and construction classes have all told me, where this is, there shouldn’t be fast running water. In that same room we moved on to look further back into a room that was labeled “High Voltage keep out”. Now, a generator of the size needed to power Foremost and its property is by no means big enough to warrant a room that is as big as what this room appears to be. Unfortunately, due to the standing water and the hum of open electronics we decided that it was too dangerous to venture into said room and we headed elsewhere in the vicinity.”

I eagerly await any updates on this ongoing exploration.

Sept 3, 2009: The Avenue Mall? Victoria’s?

After reading the last update, my friend Nate contacted me and offered the following information: “I discovered underground hallways while working at Jim Laabs in the Avenue Mall. They’re accessible from the basement. I don’t recall if they were under lock and key at all. I haven’t traversed them myself, but I’ve heard they extend down the avenue pretty far.”

Nate also says he “heard that when Victoria’s was shut down for cockroaches a couple years back, it was because Hunan down the road imported them in and they traveled down the tunnels.” I don’t personally believe in the Hunan/roach theory, and Chris says that the closure was due to the ceiling collapsing in the back portion of the kitchen. I find that much more likely… the Hunan story is more than likely an anti-Chinese jab.

September 7, 2009: Riverside, Avenue, Foremost, Roaches

My accomplice (Tina) and I explored the known places where tunnels are alleged to exist. Sadly, there is not much to report. The hole that was once at Riverside Cemetery is now filled in, meaning that any answer about that place will likely never come. We went to the Avenue Mall (it was closed but we found an unlocked door), but couldn’t get in the basement, as the elevators wouldn’t let us… one of them was even broken, trapping us in the dark! Last, we went to Foremost Farms around 4:00 and toured the grounds, but did not go inside the building. Although a very cool building, we found nothing.

However, later the same day (9:00), Chris returned to Foremost and sent me the following report:

“We literally just got back from a trip through Foremost and I found some really interesting things! For one, we both might be wrong about the Victoria’s roach theory! Whilst walking through the basement this evening I looked down and to my absolute heart-stopping horror I was standing on a long since dead cockroach! This sucker measured roughly 3 inches long by almost 1.5 wide, and it’s clear that they never get this big in Wisconsin by themselves. Since reading up on the story of the tunnel found under College Ave, and due to the fact that Foremost is only about a mile or so away from both Hunan One and Victoria’s restaurant, it is entirely plausible that tunnels do exist between all of the buildings on the avenue! Upon further investigation and research, I have found that a cockroach this size can run in short bursts roughly 15 feet at a time, resting up to 10 minutes at a time, only to continue again. This would make this roach to have spent almost a day trying to get to Foremost on a direct line, assuming there were no buildings in its way and it ran and stopped consecutively every 15 feet and rested the full 10 minutes whilst not being seen by predator or human boot. The likelihood of this, however, is quite impossible due to so many buildings in its way. The only other answer I can think of, besides the most obvious, is that it used the septic channels to get there. One problem: Foremost is not on any city line at any junction. Its drain pipe empties into the river roughly 5 feet away from the city’s line, and the possibility of the roach entering and then finding its way through the maze of pipes and floor drains of Foremost is unlikely.”

Photos of this giant roach can be found here and here.


The mystery deepens and there is no conclusion as of yet… I have also consulted Tom Richards at the Post-Crescent to see what he can find (Tom answers random questions sent in by local readers). I don’t expect much, but it would give the tunnels a public airing and that may trigger someone’s memories.

I will post more when I receive any update.

Also try another article under Miscellaneous
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

92 Responses to “On the Appleton Catacombs”

  1. Dirty Dan Says:

    That is a Cicada not a roach.

  2. Big man C Says:

    ah no that is definatly a cockroach. ive raised them since i was 12.

  3. Brian Says:

    Your both wrong, it is a benacus griseus, aka giant water beetle or toe biter

  4. Brandon Says:

    Very interesting artical.. My friends and I climbed formost farms before using the pipes on the left side of the building. The very top door is bashed open, but there is no way to get down. The lights are on all the time.. Very interesting place. We intend on exploring more before summer ends. This tunnel stuff is extreamly interesting.. A friend and I traveled to the very end of the Peabody sewer pipe today. Took close to an hour. There was an old brick arched area we walked through, and it connected two modern modern concrete pipes together. It was increadibly old looking and sketchh. It was pretty much right under Appleton papers if my so called calculations were right.. Wierd stuff. Anyway we were in those pipes for over an hour, and I’m over 6feet tall so it certinly was not comfortable.. But that strange 50 feet or so of ooollldd brickwork tunnel was skkeettcchh. I guess I stumbled upon this article wile recearching the formost farms plant out of curiosity. This is certinly new and interesting stuff.

  5. Cheese Says:

    A friend of mine consulted his grandfather, who worked at Foremost for 40 years. He said there is a tunnel extending all the way to the railroad tracks at College and Richmond. They were very secretive of this tunnel and only the foremen were supposed to know about it.

  6. Emma Birmt Says:

    I have been thinking about gathering as much information about the Appleton catacombs. If there are facts to prove that there are tunnels beneath downtown Appleton I would love to get my hands on them. Also, I have been thinking about what I have read here and my one question is, if there are tunnels (and i believe there are) what would happen if the supports give out and half of downtown calapses? how would they cover that up?

  7. Sisa Says:

    Hey why don’t you contact that guy who does that PBS show cities of the underworld….. Is all about these kinds of passages underneath our modern cities…. Most of them are in Europe. Also is it possible that the tunnel found on College ave. In the seventies was a remnant of the prohibition? The architecture of the arch could have been misdated.

  8. Dirty Dan Says:

    Brian – yes I agree I figured it was a cicada shell but It is a water beetle.
    others – I’ve been through lots of the old drain pipes in town we used to explore the fox river mills
    before they became apartments and the drainage under the riverview golf course and one old tunnel
    that was near city park. They are probably all fenced off now but you may still be able to find
    old outlets along the river bank by telulah park or the river view country club and under the bridges
    near the fox river mills apts. T think the downtown pipe is sealed.

  9. relik Says:

    is it still possible to tour foremost farms? i noticed the electricity has been cut off since the end of last year, so perhaps there is no longer a security presence, as well?

    you may be interested in knowing about the tunnel under the 300 block of college avenue. there is a second basement, which leads into the tunnel, with a entrance located in the durty leprechaun. i have yet to explore it, but i have gotten permission, once i have time.

  10. Ryan Says:

    Great Article. A friend of mine and I explored a large number of underground buildings and tunnels under College Ave back in 1992. I would love to tell you some stories! Always wondered why it was all down there! I believe that I was in the area that relik refers to on 4/25/11.

  11. Chris Says:

    So, this is for anyone, but Ryan in particular since he was the most recent to say anything. My buddy and I have been interested in these tunnels for awhile, but its hard to line up the time to actually explore..not to mention we don’t really want to waste time trying to find some entrance. So, if you or anyone have any quality suggestions, we would love to hear it. The riverside catacombs are now also intriguing me..hmm..I may have an inside connection to city of appleton layout..I’ll have to look into that..

  12. Big Man C Says:

    @ Chris: I have a way to go throughout the tunnels, and a team aswell,

  13. Chris Says:

    @ Big Man C, how would you suggest getting in contact?

  14. Corey Says:

    Does anyone know if there is anything under the zuelke building?

  15. andrew Says:

    hey big man c me and my buddys have been itrigued by the foremost building and said tunnels in my expeditions i have yet to find them any way i could get into contact with you?

  16. relik Says:

    i’ve explored foremost recently, with permission, as it is being torn down.
    i’ve located what i believe to be the sealed entrance to the catacombs. there is a doorway in the oldest part of the building, bricked off with cinder blocks. there is no reason for this, other than sealing a room/stairway which they do not want accessed.

    other than foremost and riverside, i have yet to find any other ways into the catacombs.

  17. Big Man C Says:

    @relik, i know of the exact spot you are talking about. Did you notice how it looked like they put it in there in a hasty form to the point where the mortar wasnt even mixed right? I am thinking of actually going in and trying to knock a few apart with a BFH and seeing whats inside. We even coordinated the spot with being directly under the road leading back up to the college and then to college ave from that spot so it is very likely that that is the best known spot!

  18. John Says:

    What the hell, I have heard about the catacombs. NOW is the time to find something out about this since there are demolishing the Foremost plant. (my mom & dad meet there, but I doubt my dad knows anything)

    Hey Relik, I have also been inside with permission to take some photos but never know I should be looking for this.

    Gavin, a few of us should meet somewhere to all talk about this, (you have our e-mails)I would like to find out more about this. Perhaps we could meet in some historic building for a cup of coffee to discuss this.

  19. Big Man C Says:

    Im with John on this one. I think a meeting should be set up on a upcoming saturday morning. Figure Harmony cafe on college ave in appleton is a good place?

  20. John Says:

    Big Man C, Harmony Cafe would be great place to meet and discuss this issue. Old tunnels should be discussed in an old building. Once enough people find out about this, I think a Saturday morning (not too early) in the near future would be great.

  21. John Says:

    All right, I am going to try to organize a meeting since it is so hard for everyone to get a hold of each other.

    The first Saturday of every month at the Harmony Cafe, downtown Appleton, at 11:00 AM. Whoever can make it, that’s great. If you can’t, try to make the next one. Maybe we can start something here. You know, just us folks who are in the know, not a public thing. We can discuss new developments and ideas, get each others contact information and try to see if we can actually access these catacombs.

    I am just trying to start something. Perhaps if some kind of monthly meeting does get started, it could be on another day of the month. But for now, we should try for the first Saturday of every month and see what happens. I will be there for sure. You can spot me wearing a cabbie hat like a Scotsman would wear.

    Big Man C, thanks for the Harmony Cafe suggestion. Hope to meet some of you there,

  22. Big Man C Says:

    Alight so the 7th of April would be the first meeting? Id suggest we start this up and coming saturday (the 24th of March) just to get some things hammered out.

  23. John Says:

    Yes, the 7th of April will be the first one. Sure, I’ll be at the Harmony Cafe @ 11:00 AM on the 24th of this month.

  24. Big Man C Says:

    Alright, my team and i will be sure to be there for both meetings

  25. John Says:

    Just got back fro Harmony Cafe. I was wearing my cabbie hat, I asked around and did not find anyone. The first Saturday of every month is still on.

  26. Big Man C Says:

    SHOOT! I didnt realize that was you my bad XD. I was upstairs with a few of my friends

  27. relik Says:

    oops. i haven’t been online in some time. lack of internets. anything still going on, by chance?
    i’ve been thinking about bringing a pick-axe and shovel to riverside.

  28. Big Man C Says:

    Saturday the 2nd will be the next meeting. same location and time

  29. Scott Says:

    To add to the intriguing discussion, a few years back I spoke to a bouncer at Shark’s Club pool hall. He said there was talk of an entrance somewhere in there, which was simply a locked door.

    Another time, a friend and I went behind some of the buildings on College (if I can remember correctly, sort of behind Cleo’s, on that same block). There is a narrow alley between two of the establishments, and a piece of plywood that’s blocking off what appears to be an entrance. We had planned on breaking through the plywood at the time, but were caught by one of the bar owners and didn’t want to risk being arrested.

  30. Scott Says:

    Just went to the plywood area again to confirm the location. It’s in between the parking ramp, and the buildings, at the very end where there’s a back entrance to a bar.

    Now there is a masterlocked wooden fence that’s blocking the narrow alley. If you look between the cracks of the fence, you will see the piece of plywood at the very end of the alley…it’s grey colored like the surrounding cement, and there is graffiti that says “OP” on it (that’s just from memory).

    There’s a square hole in the center of the plywood…if you find a way (illegal of course) to get over the wooden fence, you can shine a strong light inside of that square hole, and see how it appears to possibly be an entrance into the catacombs.

  31. Ryan Says:

    Wow, I haven been here in a while an I am shocked by th inerest!

    Here is the deal. 20yrs ago I worked for the theatre that was on college ave (viking). The were demoing the theatre and found a door behind the west side of the screen. It was near the fire entrance to where the parking deck is now. The building is now a dance club/bar. Anyhow, there is a vertical shaft/ladder that goes down 10’+. From there we were able to go down about 3 more floors we found many rooms and tunnels. There was a large brick archway that seemed to run under College Ave.

    It was very interesting and more than a little spooky!

  32. relik Says:

    you guys may be talking about the various entrances to the abandoned nuclear fallout tunnels that run all over under College Ave. There are also entrances under City Center, Dirty Lep., the police station, and many more.
    the owner of Durty Lep said i could go down there sometime, so if anyone wants to plan a time
    , let me know.

  33. Scott Says:


    Let us know what you find when you go down!

  34. Austin Says:

    I live in Appleton and explore the cemetery all the time and have been interested in the catacombs and whatnot but i was down there the other day looking at the old main entrance where its closed off by cement. if you are looking at it straight on it looks like there’s absolutely no way to get in there but if you turn to your left on the ground there’s a cement thing that almost looks like a bath tub and i started to dig it up a bit and each time i went closer to the entrance it got deeper and deeper until i got to a point where there was a bunch of dead tree stumps and cement blocks in the way but there was a small hole that i saw so i found a stick that was thinner than the hole but stretched about 20 feet and it went all the way in with out anything blocking it. The point im trying to get at is that i think that there is a way to get in that entrance through that tunnel. That’s just what i think at least.

  35. john Says:

    This is John again. I am the one who tried to set up the meetings at the Harmony Cafe @ 11AM on the first Saturday of every month. Like I said in earlier posts, I was at the first two and did not find anyone. I don’t know if anyone else has tried to go to these meetings, but I think it is important that we meet in person to talk about this stuff rather than always trying to do it online.

    Austin, this is great news about your find. Could you be at the Harmony Cafe on Oct. 6 @ 11AM? Anyone else who is interested, please come. I will be wearing my cabby hat with a brown coat. When you enter, I will be sitting in the dining room off to the right.

    By the way, I possibly have information about the Tunnel from West High to Wilson.

  36. Scott Says:

    Damn…feel like I check this site all the time, but didn’t see those messages til now. Hopefully I remember for Nov 3rd.

  37. Luca Says:

    I’ve been in the tunnel underneath Appleton West (years ago) – had also heard that it goes all the way to under the Morgan Building (not confirmed).

    As for the catacombs at River Side: there is a second entrance (near the care-taker house), it is a short way down a little rugged area that says something to the effect of ‘authorized persons only,’ and has a big mound of wood chips in front of it. My suspicions are that either this is a catacomb, or perhaps a drainage tunnel to keep water from having to find a way through the cemetery?

    I’m gonna try and make it to the Nov 3rd meeting. Can’t wait!

  38. Josh Says:

    I’ve been in the peabody drains in appleton a couple times and think they’re so cool. Me and a small group of friends who call ourselves “adventurers” are totally interested in finding these catacombs. When is there going to be another meeting?

  39. Chris Says:

    Im thinking we should have a meeting on say the 24th of November or the 1st of December. Ive got a whole binder FULL of info ive collected since my last posting here. Eyewitness testimony, more of the “legends” and even some actual and some hand drawn maps!

  40. relik Says:

    what time? i’m in (as long as it’s not too early.)

  41. Chris Says:

    Hows noon sound? That way those of us that are not morning people can actually attend lol

  42. luca Says:

    I am for it, though the 24th or the 1st?

  43. Chris Says:

    hows the first sound to everyone?

  44. relik Says:

    as long as you aren’t police, you’ll be happy to hear what i have to say..

  45. luca Says:

    First, noon – may this be the first of many.

  46. Chris Says:

    lol i seriously doubt the police would actually go to the extreme length of attending a meetup of like minded individuals seeking information about urban legends. That being said, i am great friends with many of the police on the AAPD so even IF they were called, after a quick check of our names for warrants etc they would issue us a “stern warning” about making sure we are safe.

  47. relik Says:

    well, i may or may not be doing more than just research and talking about the catacombs.
    i’ll be there, regardless. november 1st at noon.

  48. luca Says:

    Ahem – Dec 1st ;-)

  49. Josh Says:

    I’ll be there

  50. Luca Says:

    Don’t forget, tomorrow!!!

  51. Chris Says:

    Ill be there. look for the guy in the camo hat with a fishhook.

  52. relik Says:

    maroon sweatshirt. brown hat.

  53. Luca Says:

    i’m at Harmony now – have a dark green coat, and a man-purse. Beard too.

  54. relik Says:

    i honestly think we should keep it off facebook. just sayin’. nothing is private on facebook. perhaps a forum of sorts? is related.

  55. Jay Says:

    I grew up across from riverside. As i child we used to play in the “entrance” and were always digging. An oldtimer in the area used to tell stories of attending easter eve evening mass at the “entrance” and as his stories were told he very clearly painted the image of a single room, which is why we used to call it the old chaple. If there are tunnels from there they were very low as i used to be able to almost stand straight up in it. Years later i returned and it was paved over. Good luck to you all.

  56. john the meeting organizer Says:

    I have access to the basement at Wilson Junior High

    Anyway, has anyone attended any meetings at harmony Cafe? I stopped going after the first few because no one showed up.

    I have also been granted access to the old Conway Hotel (across from the transit bus station)that they will be tearing down soon. I will keep a lookout for any potential tunnels, I always heard legends about tunnels under College Ave.

    Luca, if you go Harmony Cafe on the first Sat. of every month at noon, make sure you wear your dark green coat so I can recognize you. I will be wearing a brown coat and a Scottish golfers cap.

  57. john Says:

    I am now making it official.

    We are now called the ACC (Appleton Catacombs Commission)

    JUST SHOW UP TO THE MEETINGS, this is good stuff, we need to share our info.

  58. david lopez Says:

    Hello my name is david and i am very very interested about exploring underground passages! me and 3 friends went last night went into the basement of California baptist university in riverside california, looking for known entrances to the catacombs, of riverside ca, we found a entrance to the catacombs but the series of tunnels just leads literally inside of the college campus administrative buildings so thinking we tripped a silent alarm we left asap!, after this we went to the cemetary looking for known entrances we had to break into a old building which had a prebusted window and we ventured into the basement where it seemed to be only 4 feet tall it looked like it had been almost gotten sealed shut so we ventured down a series of passages and found the ENTRANCE TO THE RIVERSIDE CA CATACOMBS@!!!!!! we actually walked down a mile and a half about in the catacombs and we actually ended up ontop of mount rubidoux, it is amazing i am going tonight to see what i find! i understand this is for wisconsin but i would like to one day meet up with you guys and go explore APPLETON!!!

  59. john Says:

    That’s pretty sweet David, perhaps there is a U.S. Catacombs Administration in the future?

  60. chris Says:

    Just making sure, you guys are still planning to meet Mar 2? I’ve never gone to a meeting, but I’ve wanted to..just always forget

  61. john Says:

    Yes Chris. I hope other people attend this meeting, Like I said before, I have gone before several times and no one was there. I will be wearing my Scottish cabbie hat and a brown jacket. When you walk in the front door, I will be in the room off to the right.

    Remember everyone, first Saturday of every month at 12 noon at Harmony Cafe.

  62. john Says:

    I am at harmony now, brown coat and cabbie hat, anyone else?

  63. john Says:

    OK, I am leaving now, but I will keep coming first Saturday of every month at noon at Harmony cafe.
    I thought it would be better to talk about it somewhere else other than just on this site.

  64. Taphophile Says:

    I am a “Cemetery Creeper” and I was walking around Riverside, and found that Tunnel in the restricted zone… I am all about YOLO and don’t listen to “Not Authorized” lol I took a picture of this Tunnel looking thing that has WEST above it, and the woodchips in front of the sealed off entrance as someone was describing above. I showed the picture to my boyfriend who was born and raised here (We are in our 40’s) and he was talking about tunnels. Being the investigator and history buff I am I was searching on the net and found you guys. I find this highly interesting and would love to go exploring. I am a night person and never sleep. But I won’t do it by myself, I am a chicken shit lol But crazy and hell bent if I have a bit of a push lol So do you all still meet on Saturdays? I am willing to grab Starbucks and wonder over lol In the meantime I am going to keep searching. Once I am on to something, I don’t quit….. email me with any info

  65. john Says:

    Taphophile, yes we still meet on the first Saturday of each month @ 12 noon @ Harmony Cafe

  66. Em Says:

    At the current location of Harmony Cafe, there is a sealed off entrance to the tunnels, I’ve been in the basement a couple years ago when they were moving and have seen this entrance.

  67. Cheese Says:

    Did anyone explore the basement of Conway? I found old articles about how there was a public fallout shelter there

  68. john Says:

    Cheese, yes i did. I went thru with the head of park/rec & facilities for the city of Appleton (it was owned by the housing authority) and took some pictures. i got a shot of what was once a tunnel entrance, but it was filled in years ago he said. i will see you Sat. @ noon, I will be sitting at/by the computers wearing my cabbie hat.

    By the way, I just recently ended a year of work at Wilson Jr High and I looked all around the basement & could not find any tunnel or what was once an entrance.

  69. Luca Says:

    I am down at Harmony now. Wearing beige/green flannel over an A Perfect Circle shirt, have black hoodie and a notebook purse.

  70. john Says:

    I am so sorry , here I always complain that no one shows up and then I don’t show up. Something family related came up so i could not make it. see you next month.

  71. Cheese Says:

    Go to page 7, it is about sewer tunnels under the city and entrance locations. Is there any relation?

  72. john Says:

    Cheese, not sure about any relation, the magnifying glass was not able to work, so I could not zoom in too much and read the article, but worth taking about.

  73. paul Says:

    i know of this place and know were the entrance is i also played in the catacombs as a kid

  74. Rubes Says:

    Anyone who would like to meet up and show me these catacombs? I’m interested. contact me on this comment page, I am very interested in Appleton. Lived here a while and would like to get to know the area a bit more. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!

  75. Isaac Says:

    I found this very interesting. Me and my brother were thinking of exploring some of wisconsin’s abandoned places and some of the mentioned places just made the list.

  76. Tony Says:

    Are you all still meeting at Harmony? I just learned of these catacombs and im stoked! I have always wanted to do exploring like this.. I will go to Harmony next month and see if you all are there

  77. TheMole Says:

    I’m also quite interested. I’ll be at Harmony 1st Saturday of July. Not sure what I will be wearing yet but I will post after doing laundry that Friday. See you then!

  78. The Mole Says:

    Man, I am sorry but I couldn’t make it Saturday. Is anyone still doing the Harmony meetings? I want in.

  79. Tony Says:

    hello again! i read the article againa and i nwould like to know if this is stillging on and where? is the a way inside harmony to explore the basements??

  80. Bernardo Cano Says:

    I am at riverside at the moment. A few spellunking friends of mine informed me of a group of people digging around the perimiyer of the cemented entrance and creating an entrance to those. The only times we ventured into the forest looking for the dug entrance was at night but now I am searching for t. It is apparently covered by an old shovel and a plank but my metal detector has not picked up much yet. Lots of alluminum meaning cans and trash but iron. Iron is the key. Iron is the handle of an old shovel and that is where the hole musy be. The rain storm bit hsrd today so searching washed up areas. There is a cement dibit hole next to the cemented entrance, which may also be another way in? Keep in touch, I have most gear for cave travel and would love to get a team together.

  81. Nathan Says:

    Hey bernardo id be interested in exploring the catacombs with you i live right by the cemetery i dont ever remember see an entrance but I have only been here for 7 years but yeah i would love to help dig and explore

  82. Nathan Says:

    i would prefer if we got some sort of permission before digging though

  83. ltc Says:

    Does anyone still meet to discuss this stuff?

  84. Zeta Says:

    Hello, this is a message for anyone still active in this search. Reply and we will be in contact.

  85. ltc Says:

    Hi Zeta, I’m interested, as long as my schedule allows me

  86. Pix5c Says:

    Me and my buddy went down the tunnel in Peabody park and we were wondering where it leads we went about 10 minutes in and the water got to deep for us to continue

  87. IchTot Says:

    I have the same question and suspicion as Pix5c, planning to go to riverside friday and bring my go pro.

  88. pirate69 Says:

    so me and a friend went as far as we could through the peabody park tunnel the other day it was very interesting it turned into an old clayish brickhish material to say the least it was very cool. then we went across from peabody and walked the trail by the river across from telulah park there is another tunnel that goes under the cemitairy we did not get to far because of time. what we are wondering is if anybody knows where these go and if anybody know about any other tunnel like these that we can explore we are on to a few of them but have not found the entrances yet.

  89. EBeth Says:

    At one time College Ave was a boardwalk. From the Zuelke Building to where Jimmy John’s is now located–beneath the basements of these buildings are an additional 5 levels; mostly collapsed. The ravine that is Jone’s Park ran from Jone’s park to Arbutus Park. Yes, there are catacombs in Appleton. It would be so very interesting to explore them, but also very dangerous. Good luck to everyone.

  90. PAK-YAK Says:

    for anyone interested in this search feel free to shoot me and email at with your contact info and we will be in touch possibly meeting up and doing some scouting.

  91. Nick Says:

    Where are the tunnels 2nd set of tunnels you did not have time to locate? @pirate69

  92. Major Zeta Says:

    I have been through “weed tunnel” and I am the one who discovered “dana drain”.
    I have been under a few manholes in alleys behind college ave.
    I know of walkable tunnels in the fox valley.

    I will release my secrets if you will release yours.

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