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Mystery of Hidden Underground Chamber In West Chester Remains Unsolved

(A manhole with a translucent cover led to an underground chamber discovered this week in West Chester, Pa.   Photo provided by West Chester BID)

(A manhole with a translucent cover led to an underground chamber discovered this week in West Chester, Pa. Photo provided by West Chester BID)

udo_justin DL Justin Udo
Justin Udo is a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060. Ju...
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By Justin Udo

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — While replacing a sidewalk, construction crews in West Chester found a room hidden underneath their work site.

And since it was unearthed, ideas about just what that room was used for have been running rampant.

A West Chester public works crew found the room hidden under a sidewalk along Church Street in the dowtown area.

“It was covered by at least two generations of sidewalk, so nobody knew it was there,” says Malcolm Johnstone, executive director of the West Chester Business Improvement District.

He says there are a few theories on just what this underground room was used for.

“The most popular idea it that it may have been connected somehow to the Underground Railroad,” he says.

But Johnstone says he thinks the room, just a bit bigger than a walk-in closet, had another purpose.

“When the room was discovered it had a skylight on it, and a skylight suggests that it was used for storage,” he says.

As for what’s going to happen to the room now, “They’re going to reseal the room and cover it with the new sidewalk.”

Johnstone says they’ll leave it up to future generations to find the room again and make their guesses about just what this room was used for.

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