Top 10 American Underground Catacombs: Beneath the Surface

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

✅Quick Summary

Deep below the surface of America’s bustling cities lies a hidden world, shrouded in darkness and mystery. Welcome to the Top 10 American Underground Catacombs, where secrets are whispered and stories are told in whispers.

  • In this article, we will delve into the fascinating realm beneath our feet and explore the secrets that lie within.
  • From the winding tunnels of New York City’s forgotten subway lines to the hidden chambers beneath the streets of Boston and the labyrinthine network beneath Washington D.C., these catacombs hold the echoes of history.
  • They have witnessed everything from Prohibition-era speakeasies to clandestine meeting places for revolutionaries.
  • Step into this subterranean world, and you’ll be transported back in time.
  • Explore the intricate artwork etched into the walls, marvel at the engineering prowess that went into constructing these hidden passageways, and learn about the secrets that these catacombs conceal.
  • Discover tales of daring escapes and underground societies that have thrived beneath our feet.

Join us on this captivating journey as we uncover the hidden wonders of America’s underground catacombs, shining a light on the history and intrigue that lie beneath the surface.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Adventure Travel Destinations

10 Seattle, WA

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

Seattle, Washington, had a secret underground city that burned down in 1889. The new city was erected on top of the old remains, which are still open to visitors. The ground floor was used from 1890 until 1907. Merchants operated on the fire-resistant lower levels or the new above-ground layer. Then, pedestrians used the underground sidewalks lit by pavement lamps. As expected, underground companies were seedier.

Out of concern for the West Coast bubonic plague, the city condemned the Underground in 1907. Underground Seattle was abandoned and used for storage and deterioration. All the new abandoned spaces under the city attracted vagrants, illegal gambling, prostitution, opium dens, and speakeasies.

Many tours of the Seattle Underground are available today. There are decades-old objects and relics. It’s scary and haunting, like most underground cities.

09 New York City

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

I propose visiting New York City for a more serious crypt tour. The only functioning Roman Catholic cemetery in Manhattan is outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street. Residents are over 200 years old. The first bishop of the Diocese of New York was ordained in the nation’s largest cathedral in 1815. A kitchen stove started a fire in 1866 that destroyed much of the timber cathedral interior. However, today you can take a “candlelight” tour of the church’s crypt in the basement (it’s an LED flashlight because of the fire).

There are no bones, but there are lined passageways with beautiful vaults and prominent residents. Countess Annie Leary, the Delmonicos, and “Honest John” Kelly are examples. The Godfather’s baptism sequence was filmed upstairs by Francis Ford Coppola.

08 Indianapolis, IN

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

An underground catacomb tube network exists in Indiana, which is surprising. It’s creepy to see it alone. I guarantee it. Indianapolis built two Dietrich Bohlen-designed public buildings on Market Street in 1886. These were City Market and Tomlinson Hall. City Market is still vibrant and loved in downtown Indianapolis. However, a fire in January 1958 destroyed Tomlinson Hall. The city removed the remains later that year.

This once-thriving space is now simply its arch and catacomb basement. You can tour the catacombs! The Catacombs is a ruin and a regeneration opportunity, and the city welcomes visitors to discover its past, present, and future. It has been stated that Indianapolis’ Catacombs include scores of brick barrel-vaulted arches, not bones or crypts. If you can, it’s a cool place to visit. If you find bones, leave immediately.

07 Atlanta, GA

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

Discuss the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University. You probably never heard of it unless you were a Guinness Book of World Records fan in the early ’90s or resided in Atlanta. For background, I grew up in Atlanta and visited The Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University on a school trip. I’ve been interested in opening this crypt since I was 10 years old. We presume this crypt has no bodies. This crypt contains no jewels, gold, or jewelry, they say. What is it? Few facts are known regarding the Crypt. The University says the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe is the oldest and largest millennium time capsule in existence.

In 1936, plans were executed to build an immense time capsule that would hold records for over 6,000 years. This unlikely mission was conceived by Oglethorpe University president Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, known as ‘the founder of the modern time capsule.’ Jacobs believed his generation could begin “our archaeological duty.” It was necessary to leave future historians “a thorough and accurate record, scientifically selected and preserved, of life in the twentieth century.”

06 Waterbury, CT

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

The only catacomb I fear is this one. Holy Land, USA, is a religious “theme park” near Waterbury, CT, and nothing says family fun like tetanus or a cave-in. The park was built in 1955 by regular lawyer John Baptist Greco but was closed in 1984 and vandalized. It also hosted the 2010 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl. A local non-profit bought it and reopened it on September 14, 2014, with a mass and access to the grounds’ remains. What happened to the catacombs? At its peak, the park had “Catacombs: A History of the Church.” However, it now warns of space deterioration.

A local review said, “Any foray into these ancient burial chambers would likely end with a slip down a hidden staircase with your forehead impaled on a plank of rusty nails.” Nope. It originally ran 200 feet along the old parking lot in corridors. From the parking lot, it looks underground, yet it is above ground. The far end has a modest entrance with “The Pictorial Life of Christ—From the Cradle to the Cross.” Another clumsily hand-lettered sign counts through 1978. The location is public during daylight hours. It is not worth risking going after hours. The park may reopen in its former splendor.

05 Cincinnati, OH

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

From restaurants to residences to where it buries its dead, Cincinnati boasts a lot of old European architecture. Rarely do multiple families desire that their deceased relatives be buried together. But that happened at Over-the-Rhine’s St. Francis Seraph Church. The earliest Cincinnati Catholics built Christ Church in April 1819. The first bishop of Cincinnati, Edward Fenwick, made Christ Church his cathedral in March 1822. Later that year, the new bishop transferred Christ Church downtown. The cemetery survived as the city grew.

The St. Francis Seraph Church cornerstone was erected in November 1858. The remaining remains were buried in a Poets’ Corner-style crypt below the altar of the new church, inaugurated on December 18, 1859. They stayed there for over 100 years, inaccessible to anyone but the friary’s residents until the 1970s. The American Legacy Queen City Underground Tour lets you see the crypt.

04 Newark, NJ

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

In 1937, Father Mateo Amoros was an assistant priest at St. Joseph’s Church in Newark. Father Amoros visited Montreal that year and determined his church needed catacombs. The issue? New Jersey largely opposed creating a new burial chamber beneath the church and told him no. Father Amoros’ catacomb idea was larger and creepier. He wanted wax saints and martyrs instead of human bodies. You can still visit his “crypt” today, which launched America’s first wax museum.

Some of the best hits include St. Tarsicio, a 12-year-old altar boy who was beaten to death for refusing his Eucharist. St. Genaro was “thrown into a lighted oven” and “thrown in with wild beasts” for choosing Christianity over paganism. In nearby St. Ines, an “obedient girl and role model,” refused to marry a Roman because she was committed to God. She escaped vengeful murder as a virgin. She was carried to a brothel, degraded, and murdered in revenge.[7]Another site recommended this catacomb for Catholic field excursions. Lovely!

03 Columbia, SC

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

If you’re courageous, you can visit the Columbia catacombs’ enigmatic passageways, which all inhabitants know about, without a ticket. However, no one knows why they exist. Brick arches with detail. Two-century-old phenomena. Cypress floors. Confederate gold. Beautiful brickwork. Underground architectural marvel. Secret corridors for state officials. Underground Railroad member.” Columbia locals use these terms to describe and explain the tunnels.

Built in the 1800s, their purpose is unknown.USC professor Chris Robinson has frequently visited and written about the catacombs. He’s even taken artifacts to figure out why. No remains have been found, but the ornate tunnels are miles long. If you like adventure, see for yourself and solve the centuries-old mystery.

02 Washington, DC

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

DC has a little of everything. You may tour the Franciscan Monastery’s stunning catacombs and gardens, see the President in the White House, and eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Wait, what? The Franciscan Monastery, built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, helped Americans reach the Holy Land when travel was difficult. Unlike a museum visit, exploring the catacombs makes visiting the abbey feel like an adventure.

The monastery designers journeyed to the Holy Land and interviewed visitors to preserve every aspect. They wanted a true Franciscan Monastery visit. The bones of Saint Innocent, the martyr, from the Catacomb of St. Callistus, have remained in the catacombs since the 1920s.

01 MA, Boston

Top 10 American Underground Catacombs

Bostonians have probably visited the Old North Church. At least you know about Paul Revere’s ride. I think living in America is a rite of passage. You probably didn’t realize that the Old North Church has a beautiful crypt underneath it, with plenty of room for burials. More affordable than you think, and there’s no need to kick out the dusty neighbors. However, you must be incinerated! Old North Church has a basement crypt with 1,100 burials.

The church buried members below its floorboards from 1732 through 1860. Since the church has plenty of space below ground but little above ground, they made the most of it to meet congregational burial needs. The basement has 37 brick vault tombs that can hold 20–40 complete coffins. The crypt tour is dark, dusty, and full of history, as expected. Tall people must avoid low-hanging pipes. Open vault with 18th-century coffin. There may be ghosts, but what else can you expect from the city that started it?

Some Frequently Asked Questions about Catacombs

1. What is the largest catacomb in the United States?

Stretching to an estimated total length of 2,500km, the Odessa Catacombs are perhaps the largest network of tunnels anywhere in the world.

2. What are the most famous catacombs?

The biggest, most popular, and most crowded site, the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, has a vast network of galleries that house the crypts of 16 popes, as well as early Christian statues and paintings. Photo Caption: Relief sculpture inside the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian in Rome.

3. Do catacombs still exist?

There are a lot of catacombs around the world, but the Paris Catacombs are well-known by travelers near and far. Only a little less than two miles are actually open to the public, while the rest of the catacombs go on for over two hundred miles in an underground system of pathways and tunnels.


The top 10 American underground catacombs offer a journey through time, space, and human creativity. From the grandeur of New York’s burial sites to the enigmatic tales of Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels, these subterranean spaces narrate stories that have shaped our cities and culture. As we unearth these catacombs, we embrace a deeper understanding of the past, the resilience of human endeavors, and the enduring allure of the hidden world beneath our feet. Whether through history, art, or adventure, the catacombs reveal a dimension of discovery that beckons to the curious soul in all of us.

Drop your comments below!

Zainab Hashmi

I'm Zainab Hashmi, and I'm the Head Editor of I'm uncovering the world's wonders and presenting you with the most interesting top ten lists in many categories. I've been as a guest on various national radio and television networks.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button