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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Citizens Telephone Tunnel

Desiring to have all the latest improvements, the Citizens Telephone Co. built a tunnel, its purpose, to run the cables into their new building, scheduled to open in the summer of 1903. The 271 foot long tunnel, six feet in depth and four feet wide, was spacious enough to provide freedom of movement for workmen. It ran west on Louis Street from Campau Street, where it received the cables from Citizens’ conduit system. At the 250 foot mark the tunnel took a turn into the building; this arm was twenty-one feet long.

The tunnel contained from twenty-five to thirty cables, each carrying 200 to 300 pairs of wires. The cables were strung along the walls until they were near the building where they converged at the center and ran into the plant.

Steel rail braces, extending across the top of the tunnel walls at short intervals, were joined with steel wire netting, and on top of this was fourteen inches of concrete. This formed the foundation for the street pavement, and made a roof to the tunnel four feet thick.

Excerpted from the December 23, 1902 Grand Rapids Press, page 6.

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