Hidden Tunnels of Tracy


Sneha Thokkadam, Opinion Editor

Tracy was founded in 1878, over 100 years ago. Most of Downtown Tracy was built in the 1920’s to capitalize on the railroad business. I found Tracy’s history interesting, as I live in Mountain House, a city that’s barely 20 years old.  Although most of Tracy’s old buildings from the railroad era are demolished or renovated beyond recognition, I still wanted to explore the downtown area to see if any of that history was left behind. 

A friend who built a cabinet for the Environmental Alternatives Foster Family Agency for the Space and Engineering senior service project told me that sealed tunnels lay beneath the building. I visited the building, which was formerly a bank, with a camera in tow, expecting a labyrinth of sorts, a secret waiting to be discovered. Sadly, the tunnels were sealed with concrete, the only remnant of a tunnel just barely the length of an average classroom. I still wanted to know the purpose for underground tunnels spanning the entirety of the downtown, so I turned to the internet. Most of the articles were baseless speculation, theorizing the tunnels were used to smuggle alcohol during the Prohibition era and other “nefarious purposes.” However, it isn’t disputed that similar tunnels have been found in the nearby cities of Stockton and Pleasanton. Were they all leading to the same place, or places? What was going on in this underground world? Even though I couldn’t uncover the answers to all my questions, these mysterious tunnels gave me a new perspective on Tracy. It’s not just where I go to school, but a city that’s lively with old-world charm.