Unearthing history at the Wilson House

Earlier this week, crews found remains to a tunnel

Moline, Illinois - Crews working to restore the oldest-standing house in Moline uncovered a buried piece of its history.

The owner of the 1858 house says it's evidence that supports stories he's heard about the home's connection to the Underground Railroad.

Earlier this week, crews were working on the south wall when they found the remains of a tunnel.

Sean Vogler, who owns the house and Olde Town Roofing, says they knew there was something behind the wall and what they found was a pleasant surprise.

While tearing out part of the wall to address issues with the foundation, it was first thought they discovered a coal chute.

As they peeled away the bricks, they found the remains to the entrance of an old tunnel with a brick floor and arched ceiling.

"The entrance to what was an old tunnel. You could see where everything's at, the way they had it bricked off. The age of the bricks and everything was right around the age of the house," said Vogler on Wednesday.

He says he knew of the rumors this house was part of the underground railroad and this latest development certainly makes it seem true.

"The Wilson's that originally had it, some of the relatives, they had mentioned stuff in the past, but yeah, this solidifies what they were saying, so that was kind of neat to find," Vogler said.

Even though the goal is to restore the house, they are also looking for what clues of its past remain. 

Wilson said, "We're looking for stuff like that, and so it's actually very fun when we do find something. Like I said, we assumed there was something behind where we thought coal chute was but until the other day, we didn't know."

This is the second time work has uncovered evidence of an old tunnel.

When putting in addition to the back of the house, they discovered the remains of a section. 


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