Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Subterranean Twin Cities

2009
Author:

Greg Brick

Subterranean Twin Cities

Don’t try this at home—read the book instead! (it smells better).

In Subterranean Twin Cities, geologist, historian, and urban speleologist Greg Brick takes us on an adventurous, educational, and—thankfully—sanitary tour beneath the streets and into the myriad tunnels, caves, and industrial spaces that make up the Twin Cities’ fascinating and vast underground landscape. Brick shines a headlamp (with extra batteries) into the labyrinths beneath the Twin Cities and reminds us that what we see aboveground is really only half of the story.

Subterranean Twin Cities is a treasure—a book for the Tom Sawyer in all of us. Greg Brick is one of those few persons with the unique talent to write expertly about his adventures, bringing readers along with him on hands and knees.

Steve Thayer, author of Saint Mudd and The Weatherman

We tend to send things underground that we are not interested in ever seeing again. Sewage. Garbage. In the past, we have used the underground to age such provisions as cheese and beer. In Subterranean Twin Cities, geologist, historian, and urban speleologist Greg Brick takes us on an adventurous, educational, and—thankfully—sanitary tour beneath the streets and into the myriad tunnels, caves, and industrial spaces that make up the Twin Cities’ fascinating and surprisingly vast underground landscape.

In this groundbreaking tour, the first of its kind of the Twin Cities, Brick mines the stories that lie below the city surface. Beginning with an accessible history on the geology of the area—including the giant cone-shaped mollusk Endoceras, whose thirteen-foot-long fossils are found in the Mississippi gorge—Brick guides us into a series of astounding firsthand expeditions. We follow him into St. Paul’s historic Carver’s Cave, with its stories of sunken treasure; through the many caves constructed for brewing, cheese ripening, and mushroom farming; and into the world of nineteenth-century show caves for tourists. We even find ourselves in the “Shangri-la” of urban caves: the extensive Schiek’s Cave seventy-five feet beneath the busy streets of downtown Minneapolis.

From spending the onset of Y2K in Carver’s Cave (just in case) to long hours wading in underground rivers, Brick proves himself a knowledgeable, wry, and daring guide. Subterranean Twin Cities shines a headlamp (with extra batteries, of course) into the captivating labyrinths beneath the Twin Cities and reminds us that what we see aboveground is really only half of the story.

Awards

St. Paul Heritage Commission – Heritage Preservation Commission Award

Subterranean Twin Cities

Greg Brick is a geologist and author of Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State’s Subterranean Treasures, as well as numerous scholarly and general-interest article about caves and underground spaces.

Subterranean Twin Cities

Subterranean Twin Cities is a treasure—a book for the Tom Sawyer in all of us. Greg Brick is one of those few persons with the unique talent to write expertly about his adventures, bringing readers along with him on hands and knees.

Steve Thayer, author of Saint Mudd and The Weatherman

An important and fascinating contribution to the literature of the underground.

Julia Solis, author of New York Underground

Subterranean Twin Cities is a well-written and very interesting account of a rather little known and under-appreciated side branch—or subspecialty, if you will—of underground exploration. Brick provides a rich and colorful history of Minnesota’s urban underground and a detailed account of its exploration. He paints a vivid, if not always alluring, picture of the world beneath the city streets. Readers will likely turn each page in anticipation of what will be coming next or scratch their head in astonishment at the things some people are willing to endure for the sake of satisfying an insatiable curiosity.

Danny Brass, NSS News

Subterranean Twin Cities is an enjoyable plunge, sprinkled with fascinating historical side trips, into a netherworld that sane people wouldn’t want to make a destination. . . . Brick leads us to the buried guts of our cities and brings us back wanting more.

Star Tribune

An enjoyable account, not for the squeamish, of a geologist’s travels beneath our city streets.

Star Tribune

It’s a tour made all the more remarkable for Brick’s wry storytelling skills and the fact that we don’t have to get our feet wet.

Minneapolis Observer Quarterly

Subterranean Twin Cities is a book loaded with wit, local history, and adventure, proving that much more lays beneath the surface than the sewage we flush.

City Pages

A comprehensive, enlightening history.

Minnesota Magazine

A tale of subterrestrial wonderment, full of exploration of places with names like the Subterranean Venice, Mushroom Valley, Fort Road Labyrinth, Satan’s Cave, Santa’s Cave, the Triple Helix Tunnel and the Urban Nile.

The Pioneer Press

A great introduction to the debatable pleasures of a whole new branch of caving. Greg tells it all with an irresistible wry humor. Only the most inflexible calcareospeleologist will put this book aside without finishing it.

Journal of Spelean History

In Subterranean Twin Cities, Brick . . . takes readers on a fantastic journey beneath the surface of the Twin Cities and beyond. With precise detail and fascinating photos and drawings, Brick explores caves and underground areas like no one has done before. Subterranean Twin Cities is a gem of a book.

Twin Cities Daily Planet

Cavers and mine explorers will enjoy Subterranean Twin Cities and its wry humor. Don’t worry that these might be two cities you never visit; it’s a damn fun read. And you never know, as told by Greg: at least one of the legendary tunnels has already attracted international visitors. Illegally, of course.

Descent

Part adventure memoir, part geology text, and part local history, this book is a valuable account of how caves in this predominantly sandstone area were formed. . . . Brick’s rich descriptions of his often surreptitious experience, especially in the sewers of St. Paul, will leave most readers willing to contemplate urban underground spaces only from afar.

Journal of Cave and Karst Studies

However diligently you may study local history, you will discover Brick’s book is crammed with new information about the Twin Cities.

Ramsey County History

I refer to the geology and industry sections often in my professional work as an industrial archaeologist and thoroughly enjoyed the adventures Brick brought me on. I highly recommend this book for both the researcher and the adventurer.

Journal for the Society for Industrial Archaeology

Subterranean Twin Cities

More about the author: www.gregbrick.org