Categories: History

Pendleton Underground Tunnels

The Pendleton Underground reveals Oregon history

written by Sheila G. Miller

Pendleton, like many old cities, has a sordid secret.

Underneath its city streets, it hid tunnels and a red light district built at the turn of the twentieth century.

Discovered when potholes started showing up on the streets in the 1980s, the tunnels were used in the early 1900s primarily by Chinese living in Pendleton to avoid interactions with locals, and other people taking part in less-than-legal activities.
Pendleton Underground Tours is a nonprofit that started giving tours of the tunnels in 1989. The tour provides historical context to the dark side of Pendleton, including bootlegging, prostitution and gambling. It also tells the story of the Chinese who lived in Eastern Oregon and helped build the state to what it is today.

Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground
Pendleton Underground

The two-hour tour requires reservations and runs all days except Sundays and Tuesdays.

The Eight Greatest Tours for the Oregon Lover

Pendleton Round Up: First Color Photos 1948

Published by
1859 Oregon's Magazine

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