Are There Tunnels Under Marietta Square? | WABE 90.1 FM

Are There Tunnels Under Marietta Square?

Jan 29, 2015

Legend has it that there are tunnels that connect the city of Marietta underground. One of them is rumored to be under Marietta Square and connects to the city's courthouse.
Credit City of Marietta, GA /

According to legend, there’s a tunnel located underneath the city of Marietta’s town square.

As the city looks at redeveloping property near the square, residents wonder whether the tunnels really exist.

Another view of present-day Marietta Square.
Credit Silver Starre /

When Dan Cox was a child, he remembers how people would refer to the tunnels, which date back to at least the early 1800s.

“We would play over in the square and there was a vent pipe there and we’d drop rocks down there to see what would happen," Cox says. "And all the old-timers would tell me, ‘Don’t do that or you going to mess up the tunnels.’”

He’s now 76 years old and CEO of the Marietta Museum of History. There’s one tunnel in particular that residents are curious about. He thinks it runs from underneath Marietta Square to the Courthouse about 50 yards away. Cox says he knows where some of the sealed entrances are, but he’s not telling. Only experts, he says, should explore it.

“Some archeologists ought to be the ones to go in them, because if the ordinary public knows where they are, they’re going to be driving these merchants crazy trying to get into them," Cox says. "And if they get into ‘em, they going to steal what’s in there, if there's anything in there.” 

This photo, from the 1890s, shows the south side of Marietta Square.
Credit Marietta Museum of History

Cox says one resident broke in and told him he found opium bottles. He says he wants to know what this tunnel was used for.

“The Department of Interior told me to look for any rings that might be attached to the walls, then it would have been used to hold slaves or it could have been used to put livestock in to help keep down the odor," Cox says. "And I often wonder did our courthouse records get put down in the tunnels before Sherman burned the courthouse?”

City Councilman Griffin Chalfant says there are lots of rumors.

“Most people point to the little alcoves in the parking lot by the railroad track, but those were actually coal shoots chutes,” Chalfant says.

The only active tunnel he knows of that was part of the Underground Railroad leads into the Marietta National Cemetery. The city is planning to widen sidewalks and plant trees at the square in the coming months.