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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Unpacking The Myth of The Mansion Tunnels 

Blueprint of WIS’s Tregaron Campus with the tunnel highlighted in yellow. (Courtesy of Dale Temple)

As I walked along the paths of the Tregaron campus, I started to ponder the myths I continuously hear in the halls. The rumors about the underground tunnels. Is there a bowling alley? Are the tunnels even real?

The myth is confirmed. The tunnel is real. Under your daily walk from the Mansion to the Carriage House lies an underground tunnel, hidden in plain sight. 

I met with the Director of Facilities and Operations here at WIS, Dale Temple. Temple led me to the Mansion basement. Not knowing what to expect, I followed him to the door of the tunnel. 

The door leading to the tunnel in the basement of the Mansion. (Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal/International Dateline)

As he turned on the lights, I saw what looked like a never ending tunnel. 

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The tunnel holds a lot of historical value as it was built along with the Mansion in 1913 by architect Charles Platt. It was built as a utility chase, which is a large machine used to heat small buildings in close proximity to each other. 

The utility chase used to heat the Mansion all the way from the Carriage House, but now the tunnel is only used to store cables and wires. “There is no real need to have a tunnel like this anymore,” Temple said. “For a campus our size, it’s more efficient to heat and cool each building on its own.”

 Tunnel connecting the Mansion and the Carriage House. (Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal/International Dateline)

Walking through the tunnel and ducking my head to avoid hitting any tubes, I could not see the end of it. I did not know what to expect in terms of where the tunnel ended, but I did not think it would end right next to my former middle school science classroom. 

Dale Temple locking the door of the tunnel exit in the Carriage House (Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal/International Dateline)

I had walked past this door hundreds of times and would have never thought it opened to the infamous tunnel.

After seeing the tunnel I had one question left: Was the bowling alley real or fictitious? I asked Temple what people meant by the “bowling alley” and he led me through another door in the Mansion basement. Past the IT room and through a tiny hallway was a door that would uncover the real truth. 

Image of “bowling alley” in the Mansion. (Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal/International Dateline)

My middle school dreams were crushed when I heard that the old “bowling alley” is now used as a storage unit.

It is unclear if it was truly a bowling alley. Some say that former owner of the Mansion Joseph E. Davies built the bowling alley, as he was friends with former President Harry S. Truman, who installed the first bowling alley in the White House in 1947. 

The tunnel will be altered in the next couple of years. Due to the construction of the new science building, the tunnel’s depth and size will be adjusted, as the new building and the tunnel are almost the same depth and would otherwise end up overlapping. The area of tunnel blocking the northeast corner of the new building will need to be split during construction. 

Hopefully the legend of the tunnel will live on in the hallways, regardless of whether it survives the new construction. 

By Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal 

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Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal
Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal, Print Publications Editor/MS News Adviser

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