Back in 2017, we filmed an episode for a new TV show called Kitchen Expedition for the Travel Channel. It was to air on April 1st 20018 and the joke was it was not to air till April 30th, 2020…
The Discovery Channel had bought back the Travel Channel and brought the TV show, which they had the go-ahead from the Scrips executive to film the whole season, into the nether realms of forgotten never aired projects. So they traveled the world to film the locations spices were cultivated and then where the spice made empires through its sale, to have the show never be seen. I even tried to get a copy of the pieces I was filmed in from my cousin Brian Patrick Flynn who works for Scrips for the Home and Garden Channel through his father, no go. Scurrying about trying to get tunnel locations opened, at the last minute, during the Christmas/ New Year season when nobody had returned to work yet, was all to go to waste. Until last week…
The show was picked up by The Food Network and aired on Thursday, April 30th at 10:00 pm. The first episode was on chocolate and truffles. Then the second episode was on Salt and Cinnamon where they traveled to the Mayan Empire where salt built armies and Senegal where the Ghana Empire dominated the trade. There in Senegal, they went to a salt flat where salt was still harvested traditionally. The second half of the show went to Sir Lanka where the Portuguese, Dutch, and British conquered the island to secure the profits of Cinnamon. Then they traveled to Salem MA where I met Robert and walked him through the tunnels in town where the spice was smuggled duty-free. While in the tunnel under Rockafellas I gave them the history of the tunnels that cinnamon and other commodities were smuggled through that created the wealth that shaped our country and its politics. Through the election of John Quincy Adams and William Harrison to the foundations of our three national banks before the Federal Reserve and more. The episode finished with us getting a drink at Opus Underground which was an underground train station that linked the 8 tunnel systems together through town built by George Peabody (founder of JP Morgan & Co.) for his Eastern Railroad tunnel. The first train tunnel built in America.
The show is cool in the fact that it films the crew in each episode, besides mine… It was good to see Pee Paw who worked the sound for the crew in the episode for chocolate and truffles along with the rest of the motley crew.
They did get to keep scenes at Derby Wharf, the Custom House, and the Witch House in the episode as well, but Dave’s part from Salem Spice was left out. Maybe they will use him for a later spice episode. Also additional scenes of walking through the tunnels next to Opus Underground which led to the secret train station that George Peabody (founder of JP Morgan & Co. Bank) built for his Eastern Railroad (Boston & Maine) to smuggle goods to Boston was left out. Still, they kept a good 5 minutes of what took them 3 days to film in Salem and two years to air.
To find out more about me, Chris Dowgin, and the tunnels of Salem and how they shaped the foundation of our country through its millionaires that smuggled through these tunnels, the inventions created here, the failed secession plot during the 1812 War, the people who controlled our National banks, and how they rose presidents up and brought them down read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels and Sub Rosa.
Well just off the road and across the tracks here in the Pines we have an urban art gallery few know about. In this little spot that was once a hamlet, if it ever made it to that size where people outnumbered the deer, we have an art gallery that people travel for hours to find within the heart of the Pasadena section of Whiting NJ. A gallery built on the site of the Pasadena Terracotta Factory or as others know it as Brooks Brae.
Who would figure there would be an art gallery here…
Well on the other side of the tracks in the old brick factory there is one, but unlike other factories repurposed for galleries within their hollow structures, The Woohoo in the Pines Clay Gallery has no overhead and a free admission.
Many well known Piney artists have had group shows here over the years. Sometimes we are graced by the well of inspiration in which those two great cities can offer, Philadelphia and New York, that affords us the trip to our little gallery under the sun. For we have the best lighting that the universe can offer. Below is a collection of past works that hung on Brooks Brae’s walls.
On many of our openings, most likely spurred on by the moonshine and wine offered, many couples have disappeared into the ovens where things get really hot. The only way to discover the ovens’ secrets is to bring a fluorescent light, for we are not talking. Artists are a truly a saucy bunch…
This underground room sits below the kilns that once fired the sewer pipes that were manufactured here. It is amazing what filth has occurred in this space to set young lovers’ hearts ablaze, for at least a half-hour or so before they were discovered missing from our many galas. Limelight, Studio 54, and Manray have nothing on our stains on the walls of the ovens.
For the more sensitive personalities or those people who need a little romance before entering the ovens, or for those guys needing a space in which to promise to call the girls after leaving the ovens, we have a fine garden surrounding the museum. Grounds cultivated by Frederick Law Olmstead’s neighbor’s mailman’s great-great-grandson. A future destination for Banksy, if he could do art for art’s sake…
The museum at Brooksbrae also has plenty of seating for those who need to converse while our plentiful hors d’oeuvres are being passed. The gallery can be rented for private business functions and weddings on the weekends May through November. Plus our door is open 24-7!
Right now we have whitewashed our walls and we are placing a call for new art for our Spring Show based on the artistic mind and isolation. Stop in and submit your slides for review or post your .jpgs in the comment area below.
It is your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler the Boy on the Move, once again bringing you the best in last-minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….
Yes there is a Cincinnati Subway! Well, you can’t call it exactly a system though… They converted the section of the Erie Canal that ran through the city into a tunnel and a boulevard above. Then never used it. Now they have to maintain the subway to keep the boulevard from falling in and it is used for the water main to go through for the city. Only the urban explorers and the homeless use them now. Well I figured I am an Urban Explorer and homeless, so I better head under the ground and check it out. Well, I have been in 6 homes within the last 2 years, so that counts as homeless… It was cool! My friend Chris Dowgin would of loved climbing through it! I like to rub that fact in his face that I got to go in and he didn’t… He travels and finds smuggling tunnels all over the country.
Luckily there was no active third rail.
The project kept getting interrupted by World Wars, escalating prices, and a Great Depression. They just gave up! They took out a six million dollar bond to build it in 1916 and only paid it off in 1966. With interest and all, it cost $13,019,982.45. I wish they could throw me that much money to do nothing…
To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name. Keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up being the best vacation you ever had!
Well, I was traveling where I found tunnels in Washington DC and Baltimore and Frederick MD. Then the virus put us into shutdown and traveling ended. So my parents’ house in Whiting NJ was a better bet for isolation than my bipolar roommate with a gun for a few months…
While I am here I remember that I have always been interested in tunnels. I have met my old friend Shawn Wirth on that trip to Moneta VA. He recently texted me recalling our trips under Pershing Ave in the storm drain as kids watching out for snakes. Then in my teens, I would head for the Pasadena Terracotta Factory and climb through their air vent tunnels and those in which the fires were lit for the kilns above.
Now the strangest things about tunnels here is, in the middle of nowhere you can find them too! Now when we would walk from fallen cedar tree to tree trying to cross the swamp in between Fox Hollow and Roosevelt City, we would find PVC pipes coming out of the swamp. We used to joke that there were underground military bases there. Now Shawn’s father was a Liteneut Colonel… Did he know something? Who knows.
Today they stick PVC pipes in the ground near swamps to take frog samples, but I believe this is a current means of research not invented until a few years ago.
So here I am 40 years later back in the village. I am heading up Lake Road and I stop at what I always thought was a siding for the old train that used to run in the middle of the road heading to Tuckerton NJ. This was the first time I looked at it. It was a concrete slab with different PVC pipes going deep into the ground through it. One looked like a plumbing stack and the others were white PVC Pipes about 6″ in diameter. Above the slab was a post with two modern electric meters on it? On the other side of the slab was another PVC pipe going into the ground. Then on either end, the two closest telephone poles had two 6″ PVC pipes, each, going into the ground. All of the pipes were open. So naturally, I start remembering the stories me and Shawn made up as kids about the PVC pipes in the swamp. Were these means of supplying air to tunnels or even an underground base?
Did I mention that the main military communication center for the east coast is in town? Plus a few miles down the road is an old Nike silo site which was leaking since 1960?
Back up in Massachusetts in Reading is a National Guard base. My friend had mentioned that during a war game exercise he found a tunnel and had his battalion enter it in hopes of surprising the other team. They thought it might go a 100 yards or so, but they ended up walking a couple of towns away. It connected that base to another Nike silo, the National Guard base in Danvers, and they found themselves exiting on Tremont and School Street in Salem MA. They almost got court marshaled for going AWOL.
So was this a popular trend during the cold war? There are rumors that the communication center on St. Mary’s Ave which is built on a paved octagon is mostly underground.
Then today I found another strange hole. It might just be a place to fix some electrical apparatus for the hot dog hut at Harry Wright Lake, but who knows. It didn’t have a meter, but two switches sticking out of boxes above the large circular metal plate with the trapdoor.
Whiting NJ might be a sleepy hamlet at the northern end of the Pine Barrens, but we have a colorful history!
Part of our township had seen the crash of the Hindenburg that was blamed on our moonshiners trying to shoot down revenue agents (at least that was what New York newspapers thought and the 1975 movie). Our most famous mayor (Harry Wright that the lake is named after) got elected by handing out moonshine off the back of a truck during Prohibition. Our most infamous made precedent in the Supreme Court that evidence used to convict another can not be used against you (he robbed us of 20 million dollars in 20 years and faked his death in Maine; closed casket, death certificate signed by a veterinarian, he was Stephen King’s neighbor, and his twin brother still walks around that town.). We probably had the first elected Black judge in the state because the election was held during deer season. The year I moved off to college and the mayor died… below the hill I was partying on a serial killer was depositing one of many dismembered bodies he was leaving behind during his 20-year spree. Since Whiting sits at the confluence of RT#70, RT#539, and RT#530 (which leads to Philadelphia, New York, the Jersey Shore, and Atlantic City) our various pizza shops owned by Lisanti Foods were a distribution hub for cocaine. It didn’t hurt to have the Chief of Police’s son at the time work with the mob selling it. My housing development was created on December 24th, 1924 by Joseph Parisi of Brooklyn. He planned to make a new city with a rich neighborhood, poor neighborhood, a church on Block 66 lot 6 behind the town hall, train station, hospital, utility alleys, and all. He thought our town with the train station with three rails was a desired location. He sold 4 houses after cutting all the roads out. One of those was a 24-acre lot to his masseur friends who ran a nudist colony next to my parents’ house. Parisi was head of Teamster local Union 27 who killed other union leaders, was a member of Al Capone’s (Who had a pink concrete castle with tunnels and a murder hut the next town over) Murder Inc., and owned the Arsarco’s mineral pit where the mob disposed of its bodies (One road leading to the mineral pit is called Bone Hill Road) with the owners of the nudist colony. Supposedly, we have the Jersey Devil running through our woods too…
In our world where there are reports that 70% of the nation report they are lonely, I have left the Witch City to find people who still value each other’s time. I had been living in Salem for almost 30 years and made over 5,000 friends and had some great times with all of them. It used to be a great walking city where a 10-minute walk would take an hour due to all of the conversations you had on the way. Within the last ten years, that has all changed. Now, four days out of the week my only conversation is while one of the great staff at Jolie Tea Co. pours me my Lapsang Souchong. So I am on the hunt for a town where Barney and Fred still see each other daily, even if they get on each other nerves…
So what happened? Is it the 5am alarm, the hour each way commute, the 6 day work week, or the ease of social contact through social media? What drove us apart and what has taken its place. Is it Netflix binging or video games. Or are people just working, sleeping, and running errands on the one day off they get. Is it the belief we have to spend money to socialize…
So I’m on the hunt. On my latest journey through the south, I stopped off at Frederick MD. Frederick was the home of Francis Scott Key. The ninth president of the United States, John Hanson, lived here. If you will remember there were 14 presidents prior to the forming of the Constitution. John Hancock was the 4th president when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Yes George Washington was not the first, but he did travel through this town during the French and Indian War. During the Revolutionary War, Hessians were garrisoned here to block the crossroads from the Patriots’ usage. Roger B. Taney was also found here, he was the 5th Superior Court Justice that became infamous for his Dread Scott decision. Also, It was a crossroads during the Civil War with one day having Union troops marching through with the next Confederates. To prevent Confederate sympathies, President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and arrested local politicians. Also, they had a Civil War hospital museum where they treated troops from both sides of the Civil War. Plus, it had many shops on two long streets, Patrick and Market, filled with good people and even greater items for sale. The first I entered was The Spice & Tea Exchange where Keith made me a very nice Lapsang Souchong blended tea to start off my journey after he gave me a little history of the town and told me about the big social events they hold down on the river filled with music and people.
Now there were many similarities between Salem MA and Frederick MD; except one has the ocean while the other has the Appalachians. Both had a majority of architecture from the 19th century, but I must say Frederick’s shopping community was larger and much more varied. I believe Frederick did have a psychic, but the most magical place was Smoke Signals. A slight throwback to an old headshop from the 70s. There I met Niko, a fellow Thelemite. We had a good conversation on history, Masons, and magic. 93 and 42 to you Niko! They also had their own Record Exchange. Sam who owned the one in Frederick was probably the friendliest and happiest soul I met in town. He had an eclectic and rare selection of some fine punk and obscure Soul and R&B. Many rare vinyl prints I had seen on his shelf. Now Salem has their own Record Exchange as well with Barrence Whitfield and his large soul and his encyclopedic knowledge of music. Maybe Sam while visiting his son in Boston might just one day step in and meet Barrence when the worlds collide…
Another strange coincidence was, tunnels. Now nobody I talked to knew if there were any in town or not, but I had seen many signs. There were many service entrances in the sidewalk. Within Salem, these would be locations where they took the roof off the tunnel and opened up a small section in front of the tunnel entrance to the basement. Why make a second hole in your foundation and why waste a great resource. Very similar to them are basement addresses accessible from the sidewalk. They take the roof off the tunnel once more and utilize a staircase to block the tunnel from going the other direction and use the preexisting door from the tunnel into the basement. Plus they had scores of buildings with exterior chimneys. Exterior chimneys were utilized when central chimneys were more economical because it proved a better way to connect a home to a tunnel. The tunnel would enter through the fireplace arch in the basement allowing the tunnel to exit 3 feet to 6 feet within the basement. This alleviated flashing problems and created a draw system up through the flu to provide fresh air for the tunnel system. Frederick was on a river and was a hub on the railroad. Monocacy River runs into the Potomac and leads to the sea. Within Salem, they were used for smuggling to avoid paying duties, the Underground Railroad, and transportation during inclement weather. A quick search shows no history of smuggling in Frederick, but most smuggling activities do not show up within public records… Some finds I did come across were that Confederate sympathizers would smuggle goods like quinine and clothing to help out the South. Also, it would be useful for these sympathizers to meet in private once Lincoln started arresting them.
Very much like Salem, walking through Frederick was like walking back in time. A rough estimate I would say there were about 20 square blocks of 19th-century brick homes. A majority of them were attached row houses. Outside of old town was modern communities and the usual cluster of strip malls with major outlets with a very extensive series of bus routes to get back and forth. Their transit center had links to Amtrak and Greyhound.
Good tip. While traveling I have found a black membership at Gold’s Gym for $29.99 a month will get you a locker to store a duffel bag, a shower, and a massage bed to take a nap on.
While I was waiting for that bus to get me to Planet Fitness to drop off my duffel, I stopped in at the Curious Iguana where Elna sold me a book to read while I waited for the bus. The Curious Iguana owners are also the owners of the Dancing Bear where I met Kevin who I kept bumping into as I traveled through town. Now the owners Marlene and Tom England give a portion of the store’s sales each year to international non-profits (more than $51,850 as of December 2018), which is quite impressive! So support them so they can support many others. I also found an old The Darkness comic at Brainstorm Comics and Gaming which Brendan sold me. It was an issue my friend Matt Maguire worked on. Matt’s story also appears in our Winter issue of Arkham: Tales from the Flipside. Hopefully Brendan will be able to buy that house!
Later that night I walked up Market Street and found many street performers. The first I played some flute with was Arthur Harrison from The Cassettes on Theremin, Brady Danger on guitar (Instagram @bradydangermusic), and @eltheviolinist on Instagram. Later I played a little with Myle Voorhees on banjo. We might even get him to write a story for Arkham; Tales from the Flipside…
Then I got to hear Alyssa Hard at Cafe-Nola. She originally sat and listened to me play my flute on the steps of an old bank that closed years ago. I owe her a better performance since my amp was dying…but her performance was top notch. I hope she enjoyed some Robin Ella & the CC String Band, I think it would be up her alley along with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I sort of like this; I got to listen and play music on the street. I’m used to walking into a bar for 30 years to hear music, but here it was outside. I got into some great conversations with Myle about banjo, community, and friends. I got to talk to a lovely songstress and had Arthur teach me a thing or two. Arthur was kind enough also to give me a ride back to Planet Fitness to get my duffel. We talked about history, electronics, music, and the CIA. He probably gave me the best conversation on my journey.
From my questions, it does seem there is a community in Frederick. Keith informed me about the community that comes out for town events down at the river, Sam says he still is able to see his friends weekly, Myle gets to work and play with his, and Arthur just seems to take out his Theremin out and people just gather to say hello. This might just be a town I might have to return to and find a Couchsurfing host to check it out further. They might of found a way to combat the 70% within a metropolitan area. The houses are said to be in the $350,000 range, with a seedy side coming back into vogue with homes around $150,000.On the other hand, those walking through the bar scenes, did seem younger. It would have been a good indicator if a mix aged population walked by to see if people deep in their careers still have time for each other. So who knows, but it is worth a second look.
Maybe Barney and Fred were just around the corner…
Its Christmas, Dearborn Street is all lit up, families are filling up the tunnels traveling to friends and families, but…
There is word that Joseph Knapp Jr. will die mysteriously like his brother within Salem Prison before his New Year’s Eve execution. This is the climax of the story where we find out who committed the murder of Captain Joseph White. Will Henry be able to make it in time though the packed tunnels to save Joseph; so he can be properly killed by the State…
Come back every Tuesday to read the latest installment of “Murder on the Common” featuring everyone’s favorite immortal, Henry Sinclair, and his reincarnated third-generation Viking ragtag crew.
The First Boy’s Club in the country was held in a building attached to this tunnel. In fact, the three locations that the club first resided in were all attached to the smuggling tunnels in Salem MA. The first was the Downing Block next to the Peabody Essex Museum. The second location was in the Salem Lyceum that previously housed a lecture series where Alexander Graham Bell introduced his phone publicly at. The third location was in the old Essex County Bank building built by Charles Bulfinch who became the Architect of D.C. who built all the tunnels under our capitol.
The Boy’s Club learned an important early lesson; keep the kids in a brick building. For the one time they were housed in a wooden building, the Lyceum, they burned it down. The location where James Russell Lowell introduced the Dante Club’s translation of The Inferno was burned to the ground by these children.
So why was it so important to have these economically challenged children in the building attached to the tunnels? Were they helping the sailors and captains smuggle in town? Were they assisting in the runaway slaves’ attempts at gaining freedom? Or were they run by a Salem Fagin who had them act like the Artful Dodger and break into the homes that also were attached to the tunnels?
Who is to say, but it makes you think…
For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Also to learn more stories like this first hand, book a tour with the Salem Smugglers’ Tour!
Welcome back to the wacky news from the magical whimsical side of Salem! I am Mr. Zac spilling all the odd secrets of this quirky town. Before we start I will pass on our best wished to the people of Hawaii who had suffered recently in the volcano eruption and earthquake. Luckily the most our volcano has done in millions of years in Collins Cove was crack one foundation…
By the way, above is the graphite drawing of Dave Ward, a shaman from the family of Sitting Bull. The family joke is they are full of bull… Hi Dave! This image was done first then scanned into the computer.
Later the rest of the background was drawn in and arranged on the computer with Photoshop. Kūkaʻilimoku was then drawn and added. Later the dancer and the second native was added. He was drawn from the likeness of Brudha Iz the famous singer. Each was scaled and moved into the right place doing comps on the fly and only settling in on the final when satisfied. Sometimes, different comps are saved on different layers and saved for later.
The funny thing about Kūkaʻilimoku and A Walk Through Salem, the illustration depicts Kūkaʻilimoku being rescued and sent back to Hawaii. Soon after the publication of the book, he was indeed sent back home. There are three remaining statues of him; one was in England, the second in Hawaii, and the third was in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. They all were put together in Hawaii in the Bishop Museum for the first time in quite some time. After the show, Hawaii did make arrangements to have them returned for good.
The final illustration depicts a news story in the Salem Gazette where the public finds out about the Hawaiians smuggling Kūkaʻilimoku out of the museum and into the Unzipping Tree in the Salem Common back to Hawaii. I never did find out how they actually did transport him back…
Pick up the first book of the Salem Trilogy, A Walk Through Salem, at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, The Witch House, or Remember Salem.
Come back every Tuesday at 3PM for new stories about Salem and images from the Salem Trilogy.
Tales from Salem’s Underground
(Reprint from the Salem Gazette)
“These homes were built by respected architects – names like McIntire and Bulfinch. They were the homes and businesses of senators and Supreme Court justices,” said Dowgin. “And in the basements and under the fireplaces, many of them had smuggling tunnels.”
Dowgin, a local historian, has been primarily known for his illustrated children’s books “A Walk Through Salem” and “A Walk Under Salem,” which introduce readers to Salem history in a whimsical way. But his latest book is something different. “Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City” shows a new side to the famous merchants and captains of industry, one tinged with tax evasion, thievery and even murder.
“The practice of building smuggling tunnels probably dated back to the earliest days of Salem being used as a port,” said Dowgin. “But it really became a common occurrence in the early days of the United States.”
During the Revolutionary War, many shipping magnates in port cities all up and down the East Coast turned to privateering, amassing huge fortunes in wealth captured from British vessels. After the war, the fledgling republic tried to recapture some of that wealth, in the form of steep import duties and other taxes.
“We’d just had an expensive war, we were trying to get our country started, and everyone wanted the party they were opposed to shoulder the brunt of the tax burden,” Dowgin said. “In many ports, people were losing money, but Salem just kept getting richer and richer.”
Part of the reason was that many of the goods that entered Salem were immediately spirited into a complex tunnel network that kept them away from the prying eyes of customs agents. These tunnels extended far into the city, but began practically at Salem wharf itself. As an example, look at the 1762 Derby House, part of the Salem Maritime Historic Site.
“When Richard Derby built the Derby House for his son, Elias Hasket Derby and his new wife, Elizabeth Crowninshield Derby, it was the subject of much speculation in town,” Dowgin said. “In the late 18th century, houses weren’t commonly made of brick, because there was a superstition that brick houses were unhealthy. Then there was the question of why so many bricks were needed; about three times as many as you’d need for a house of that size.”
In reality, Dowgin said, the bricks were being used to construct a tunnel in the basement. Today, the entrance to the tunnel is slightly above grade, and visitors can see the bricked-in arch.
“After the Derby House, the tunnel builders got smarter,” Dowgin said. “They realized that, if they built two brick houses at a time at a fixed distance apart, no one could guess how many bricks were supposed to be there.”
To find out more about the tunnels of Salem watch Chris Dowgin on Kitchen Expeditions on the Travel Channel premiere episode. Chris will be giving a tour to Robert Irvine of the tunnels that used to smuggle duty free cinnamon. Check out the show and then buy your own copy of Salem Secret Underground:The HIstory of the Tunnels in the City.
Come back every Tuesday at 3PM for new stories about Salem and images from the Salem Trilogy.
Take the tour based on the books Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by your tour guide Chris Dowgin. Learn how a series of tunnels made for gentlemen who had shaped our country led to fortunes that controlled our nation’s banking, shaped our Constitution, brought the first drunk elephant to America, assassinated three presidents, and much much more!!! Also learn about the real murder behind the game Clue!
More than Witches!!!
Salem Smugglers’ Tour