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By Echo Menges
Edina’s long forgotten underground was briefly uncovered last week during the cleanup of the building collapse site on the south side of Edina’s historic town square. For just a few days, the outer wall of the underground corridor was laid bare during the digout of debris and brought into view by sunlight.
At the building collapse site, below the sidewalk in front of the former Edina Art Studio and American Legion buildings, the old coal chutes connected the neighboring buildings and could easily be considered a secret passageway between them.
The old block and mortar walls remained intact despite the violent building collapses that unexpectedly occurred on January 6, however, by the time this newspaper finds its way into the hands of our readers – this secret passage will be nearly or completely filled in.
For years, people have buzzed about underground walkways below the storefronts with only a handful of them having firsthand knowledge of experiencing the underground for themselves.
Originally, these passageways were constructed to receive coal, which was dropped in from openings in the sidewalk above, and brought in through the doorways built into the the basements of the buildings.
The south sides of the block walls facing the inside of the basements would have seen their last daylight when the buildings were being constructed in the 1890’s.
Many late 1800’s buildings still stand throughout the City of Edina, which could include the same style of coal chutes turned secret passages that evolved into local lore.