The Tunnels

Friday, December 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:18 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An underground system of tunnels connects the MU residential halls of Lathrop, Laws and Jones and Dobbs Dining Hall. Though they’ve been there for nearly half a century, they’re not well-known or well-used.

Built in the late 1950s, when all four buildings were erected, the tunnels’ primary purpose was to house large, insulated steam pipes, provide storage and transport trash and equipment.

“They evolved into a passageway because that was a way for (students) to get from the residential hall to the dining hall,” said Don Graham, who worked as associate director for residential life for 40 years.

However, the women in the all-female dorms complained about the tunnels being dirty and dingy, Graham said. Over the years, the tunnels matured along with their buildings. When the dorms were all-female, the tunnels were locked in the evening.

“They’ve gotten a little more liberal, or a little more realistic,” Graham said.

The doors are locked later now, but students aren’t easily deterred.

“There is an outside entrance to the dining hall that not many people knew about,” Graham said. “It was occasionally jimmied or broken into. You got into the tunnel and you still couldn’t get into the residential hall — kind of thwarted your efforts.”

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