Exploring downtown Tulsa's underground tunnels

Posted at 3:48 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 16:48:47-04

TULSA - To really get to know Tulsa, you should start at the top, and then work your way down.

Back in the 1920s oil baron penthouse suites overlooked the city, but the good life wasn't always what it seemed. What lies beneath the high rises tells a different story.

And what lies beneath are tunnels that were used for safety by one of Tulsa's first oil barons to get from his home to work without running into trouble.

The tunnels actually started out as a convenient way to move merchandise, but a rash of kidnappings-for-ransom in Chicago led Tulsa's most prominent to use the tunnels as a hideaway from criminals.

"There were bad guys that came to Tulsa," said Kelly Gibson, owner of Tours of Tulsa. "With all the people and all of the money that was coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, it drew like a magnet."

Along with the tunnels that Gibson discusses on her tours, there are also private tunnels, which appear to have been cemented off. The hollow echo of a wall below the ground hints at a hidden tunnel.

"Tulsa has always been known as a risk-taking place, high risk people would come to Tulsa and make lots of money, many times lose lots of money," said Gibson.

Each twist and turn underground tells a story of how the city came to be.

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