One of the most popular legends about Savannah’s tunnels involves the yellow fever epidemic of 1876. Many believe that so many people were dying at Candler Hospital from yellow fever that tunnels were built under Forsyth Park to hide the bodies and prevent mass hysteria. Although there is a tunnel that runs from the site of the old Candler Hospital (now SCAD’s Ruskin Hall) under Drayton Street, it was actually constructed in 1884, eight years after the epidemic. The true purpose of the tunnel was to move the morgue, or “dead house,” from out of the building to underground.
Although there are mysterious tunnels and cellars all over the city, the history of most of them has been lost to time and investigations only lead to literal and metaphorical dead ends. Almost all of the existing tunnels in Savannah are sealed, but many tours will show you where they are supposedly located.
Savannah knows its history, but in the case of the city’s tunnels, there are more rumors than answers. However, the stories are still captivating and continue to be a large part of Savannah’s mystique for tourists and residents alike.
Christopher Berinato is the author of Secret Savannah: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: That’s So Savannah: Are there tunnels hidden beneath Savannah? You'd be surprised.