The streets of Lowertown


Anytime the streets of an old city are disturbed, the past bubbles up to the surface.  That’s definitely true of Saint Paul.  The heavy construction Downtown has ripped up many of the ancient streets of Lowertown and secrets are bound to see the light of day.  Something has been found there, however, that no one wants to talk about just yet.  When will the truth be revealed?

The construction is for the Central Corridor LRT – moving a lot of utilities out of the way of the heavy trains and getting the streets ready for a complete makeover.  They have to dig down deep to get everything, so the layers of past that are being peeled back go deep into Saint Paul’s history.  Anything could be revealed from this.

Rumors have been flying for some time as local residents peer over the edges of the deep trenches.  Fourth and Broadway are completely sealed off right now and kept far away from the prying eyes, however, since no one can get around.  The secrecy that has resulted has only fueled more speculation.

What could they have found?  Bootlegger stories from Prohibition have long been a part of Saint Paul’s lore.  There’s no doubt that caves carved out under basements and tunneled deep under the city streets were hiding places from the days of gangsters and other shadowy figures.  When the Science Museum was built, a careful archeological dig at the site of Nina Clifford’s “house of ill repute” stopped construction for months as many small artifacts were pulled from the area.

What is being unearthed from the streets of Lowertown?

I’ve been scratching around the area and asking questions for some time now, but I do not have any good answers.  I talked to some of the construction workers among the idled heavy equipment, asking why so much of their work has been done carefully by hand.  No one would go on record stating they’ve found anything.  “It’s an old city street, you never know what you’ll find,” said one worker who did not give his name.

That doesn’t explain how carefully the streets of Lowertown have been sealed off from the rest of the city, however.  It’s difficult to get in or out of the area.  Access to Prince Street comes through the parking lot under the Lafayette Bridge, a trip that’s worth the effort if you want to catch up on what’s happening.  Among the dirt and gaping holes there are many people milling around inspecting, watching – and obviously taking a great deal of care as they dig.

They’ve found something.  It’s only a matter of what it is.

An investigation is ongoing right now.  There is some photographic evidence as well as a few documents that are being produced.  We have rumors that have yet to be confirmed that artifacts have been pulled from the site as well.  Obviously some kind of major find has to be expected when old streets are dug up, but the veil of secrecy and isolation that is fueling speculation that there is more to this than the usual.  No one will admit to anything at this time.

I’ll need your help to move this forward.  Does anyone have any idea what might have been unearthed in the streets of Lowertown?  Can anyone help us shed the light of truth on whatever has hit daylight from under the streets of old Saint Paul?