Just over a year ago, a house fire occurred on Abilene's north side. The overnight fire destroyed two houses before Abilene firefighters could get the blaze under control. The two destroyed homes were in a section of town that was once known as "Town West."

The houses in this area of town were built in the early 1900s, and many are part of the city's historic homes. Many of the homes in this Abilene Northside were in an area from North First Street to North Tenth Street and from Grape Street to just east of Forrest Avenue along Catclaw Creek (as seen in the map below).

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One contractor (as seen on the KTAB TV video below) was working on clearing the pile of rubble left behind by the house fire implying that "this brick tunnel might have been part of an underground railroad." The truth is that this was back in the late 1800s or early 1900s and was a way for a city to settle to provide water to the new homes in the new neighborhoods being built.

Since then Abilene has modernized and uses pipes to provide water for those who want modern-day Plumbing in their homes. The system was referred to back in the day as a cistern, an artificial reservoir or tank for storing or transporting water usually underground.

A lot of the homes in "Town West" are deteriorating and are in bad shape there are still many that have been restored. In my opinion, the history of Abilene is fascinating and eye-opening. I believe that we as a community need to Preserve our cities' heritage.

Finally, the tunnels were a system to collect, filter, and store water for the growing city. Source: Abilene-101 by Jay Moore - Stone Owl Scholars /  KTAB-TV, Big Country Homepage

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