Hidden Memphis history: Gayoso Bayou a buried treasure filled with lore, dangers : Local News : Memphis Commercial Appeal


 By Michael Lollar (Contact), Memphis Commercial AppealThursday, August 6, 2009 In the distance, water drips, seeps and trickles into the cavern. Echoing, it sounds like a mountain stream as it pools along the floor and flows in the opposite direction of the Mississippi River. Mark Twain might have described it as “dark as the inside of a cow” down here. Life, traffic, sunshine are proceeding as usual above ground. Here, sunlight is a rare presence that slips in as eerie beams through dime-sized holes in manhole covers overhead. Brad Luttrell/The Commercial Appeal Jimmy Ogle carries a ladder to get out of the Gayoso Bayou, a mostly underground spillway with roots going back to Memphis’ earliest days. Ogle said the tunnels can quickly fill with rushing water more than 8 feet deep when it rains. Brad Luttrell/The Commercial Appeal The caverns in the tunnels that make up the Gayoso Bayou beneath the city range from 20 to 30 feet tall. Older sections are brick, modern ones are concrete. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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