Over the summer, contractors building new curbs discovered the remains of an old railroad bridge under a section of North Lime Street in Lancaster.
This month, for safety reasons, PennDOT filled the empty space under the bridge with concrete to ensure the roadway remains stable and safe for traffic.
The bridge isn't the only surprising piece of history lurking under Lancaster's streets and buildings. Here are a few more that LNP has reported on over the years:
The water under Water Street
During Lancaster's early years, a stream flowed along what is now Water Street. It was known at various times as Roaring Brook, Bethel's Run, Hoffman's Run and Gas House Run.
Today, an aging large-diameter sewer runs under the street, part of Lancaster's combined stormwater and sewer system. In 2002, LNP managing editor Tom Murse, then a reporter for the Lancaster New Era, described the eerie experience of sloshing through fetid, foul-smelling water down the pitch-black tunnel with the city's supervisor of wastewater operations.
Other streams and rivulets once threaded their way through Lancaster, and the area was home to numerous springs.
An abandoned pedestrian tunnel
In 2003, a PPL crew installing a utility pole unexpectedly broke through the ceiling of an early 20th Century tunnel at the corner of Prince and Walnut streets. It turned out to be for pedestrians to pass safely under the former Pennsylvania Railroad line that carried trains to the old downtown station, which closed in 1929. The pedestrian tunnel was closed in 1934.
A story on the find from 2005 notes: "The city contains other such concealed cavities, including a smaller railroad underpass at Queen and Chestnut streets and a stone vault under the sidewalk at the old Oblender’s store on South Queen."
The latter reference is to the former Oblender's Furniture Store at 37-43 S. Queen St., north of the historic Thaddeus Stevens house site. It was torn down to build the Lancaster County Convention Center.
The cistern at Thaddeus Stevens' house
In the early 2000s, a team of archaeologists uncovered thousands of artifacts, a kiln and an underground cistern where Stevens and his housekeeper, Lydia Hamilton Smith, are believed to have hidden slaves seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad. The cistern was preserved and incorporated into the design of the convention center's Vine Street lobby.
Excelsior Hall's catacombs
The low, vaulted catacombs were used to store beer when the building was the Sprenger Brewery. The 1,500-square-foot space was renovated as part of the building's conversion into an event venue a few years ago.
During Prohibition, some breweries continued to operate illicitly, reportedly piping beer to distribution points through hidden pipelines and hoses wound through sewers.
In May 1931, Prohibition agents testified that beer from the Rieker's Brewery on West King Street was being pumped to a garage at Manor Avenue and New Dorwart Street. The following year, a hose was discovered leading to a warehouse at 112 N. Water St., now the address of Zoetropolis theater.