Selby Avenue Streetcar Tunnel

Sealed Tunnel Under Selby Avenue
St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Selby Avenue Streetcar Tunnel
Built By Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By City of St. Paul
Length 920 Feet Total
Width 2 Tracks
Height 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Concrete Tunnel
Date Built 1907
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Tunnel is Sealed)
Current Status Abandoned and Sealed
Significance Moderate Significance
In the late 1890s, the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company began building streetcar lines around the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul as a means of faster and more effective transportation.

While the lines were slowly built, this was one of the first. The line was critical for passengers to connect Minneapolis to St. Anthony and Northeast Minneapolis.
The line utilized the crossing at Third Avenue on a new bridge for a more durable and reliable source of transportation.

By 1929, the TCRT expanded from Stillwater all the way to Lake Minnetonka, a span of nearly 50 miles.

However, the streetcars proved to be less reliable and even less favorable than the automobile.
By 1954, the last streetcars ran in Minneapolis. The company had purchased several busses.

With struggles through the 1950s and 1960s, the company was finally folded in 1970.

This tunnel was built in response to a nasty hill at the end of Selby Avenue.
The large hill was oftentimes a major pail for the rapid transit, proving to be unreliable.
In response, the tunnel was started in 1906. By 1907, the tunnel was completed. It began at Nina Street and ended near present day I-35E
The tunnel was built with a typical cut and cover method, where the hill was carved out; the tunnel built and hill rebuilt.
The material chosen was concrete. The tunnel was wide enough to carry two tracks.

When the tunnel was officially abandoned in 1959, the upper entrance at Nina Street was dug up, paved over and sealed.
However, the lower entrance was superficially sealed. During the mid 2000s, it was completely sealed. It is unknown if there is still a way into the tunnel.

The author has ranked this tunnel as being moderately significant, due to the unique history of the structure.
The photo below is the remaining lower portal.

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