Jenkins Run

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Jenkins Run storm sewer system is a remarkable network of tunnels. In essence it is a preserved, time portal into the early 1900’s sewer works. It really is a time portal, a preservation of the early 1900’s sewer works. Built between 1906-1912, during the city’s drain laying Gymboree. It boasts a staircase, large diversion chambers, flumes, beautiful early 1900’s style masonry work, long curves, numerous stone granite side drains, some larger then others.  The further you go back, the older is gets. In the back of the tunnel, houses a sizeable double barrel diversion chamber. One of the barrels quickly turns into stone and resembles more or less catacombs. Ironically, part of this system runs under or quite close to a cemetery.



Exploring a massive 10 foot, 6 inch drain, from within another massive drain was mind trip. Such a treacherous adventure should not be carried out by a casual urban explorer, the ill prepared or weak hands.  When this drain was discovered, research seemed to point that this tunnel was draining what was once known as “Jenkins Run”. An ancient stream that was buried & covered over well over a century ago and is the largest stream outfall in the Bowels of Jonesy system. Every time this tunnel was passed, a strong curiosity beckoned for its penetration.  What lies inside was an unknown, granted its overall large size, one could only assume it was the beginning of a large storm sewer network.  If subsequent research was on point, it seemed that sizable chambers may lay within. Years later, infiltration was undertaken and the curiosity laced with patience paid off.


The Jenkins Run Drain empties into “Bowels of Jonesy” between Preston and Hoffman streets runs northerly via Carter alley to a point 135 feet north of Lafayette avenue and thence northeasterly to a point in Boone street north of Twentieth street For 3,270 feet to a point in Walcott street it has cross sections of from 163 to 49 square feet and is built with a segmental arch Above this it is circular and 10 feet 6 inches in diameter It drains nearly 900 acres including Homestead and that part of Waverly east of the York Road It has two principal branches

  1. In Hoffman street to Home wood avenue 4 feet in diameter
  2. In Girard avenue to Barclay street 3 feet in diameter .

– Source


The heading of the tunnel under Guilford avenue has been extended from the entrance of the retaining wall between Biddle and Chase streets to a point 250 feet beyond Preston street a total distance of 8oo feet The heading of the Jenkins Run Sewer tunnel has been extended through to meet the large tunnel a distance of 430 feet The rock excavated from this tunnel is being crushed and used to form the concrete conduits in the bed of the Falls below Chase street. -Source


More pictures to come. Looking up the stairway towards the end of it.

While this diversion chamber (pictured below) resembles the explorers findings, as much as it looks different.

Jenkins Run Sewer


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