On one trip through the water main tunnels, we discovered a small hole behind a pipe that we could just barely fit through. Slim Jim, Wolfman McManwolf, and I wiggled downward into what proved to be a short segment of sewer tunnel.

The floor was soft and mucky, and the walls had clearly been dug out by hand with pickaxes. I was amazed to discover a sandstone carving in letters 18 inches high and well over an inch deep, reading "1882." The surface of the rock within the letters was as aged as the surrounding rock: the carving had probably been made by a worker who dug the tunnel, at the very dawn of the age of working sewers in Saint Paul (see "History of Saint Paul Sewers").


As we were checking out this carving, we were startled by a rumbling sound. It started getting louder, nearer. It started sounding rather liquid. It sounded like a giant flush. And it was coming toward us from a large pipe sticking out of the wall. Suddenly acutely aware of the wet, sludgy floor, we bolted back toward the wormhole we'd dropped in from, and even working against gravity instead of with it, we got out of that damn hole twice as fast as we'd gotten down into it.