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Campaigners might have found secret escape routes underneath outlawed San Francisco gay bars

Meka Beresford November 19, 2016

LGBT campaigners believe they may have found a series of secret underground tunnels beneath gay bars in San Francisco that were once outlawed.

Evidence of the historical escape routes, which would have been used during police raids in the 1940’s, was discovered by campaigner Nate Allbee, and now he’s fighting to stop the destruction of the historical site.

The discovery has temporarily halted a development project which planned to build a 12 story hotel in the Market Street area, on top of where the tunnels are reportedly built.

The tunnels apparently run underneath the Old Crow Bar and Silver Rail, two gay bars that operated at their peak in the 1930’s during a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Nate Allbee provided pictures which prove the tunnels existence to San Francisco CBS local, however they are the only proof to emerge so far.

Allbee told CBS: “Police would come and raid LGBT bars and be very violent and take people away to prison. So if they heard a raid was about to happen, they could have used these tunnels to escape the raids”

The group who are developing the housing structure in the location of the tunnels have denied the existence.

President of Group I, Joy Ou, said: “This is the first time we’ve heard that there is a tunnel. As far as we’re concerned, there is no tunnel.”

The company argued that even if the discovery of the tunnels were confirmed, there is no historical significance to the tunnels so they will continue with the building project.

In a statement, the company explained that: “Although three of the storefronts at the property had at certain times in the past been occupied by gay bars, none of the three storefronts retains physical features associated with those long-closed establishments and thus are not able to convey historic significance.”

Albee plans to appeal to the Board of Supervisors and that appeal could stall construction on Market Street.

KPIX5 Extra walked through the tunnels which you can see here:

More: America, escape, Gay, LGBT, police raids, San Francisco, US

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