ground mole plot Broad Street

 For anyone who thinks Charleston is too low in elevation for underground tunneling, think again. In the Fall of 1802, a man by the name of Withers concocted a plan to dig beneath Broad Street  to the old South Carolina Bank on the northwest corner of Church Street. The buildig, which still stands, had vaults on the first floor, and Withers' idea was to begin a tunnel in one of the grated street drains to the raised basement. He apparently would enter the drain each morning, pull the grate back over hime and dig, getting food and water from an accomplice who dropped them into the drain, and exit after dark each night. After nearly three months of work, Withers had burrowed under the street, but was discovered after his cohort in crime got to verbose while describing the caper in a local tavern.

 Another view from below ground on Broad Street can be seen from the provost dungeon of the Old Exchange. Built as a storage area for the Exchange in 1771, the vaulted brick cellar lies atop remains of gthe old city sea wall, and looking through the opening to BRoad Street, the layers of successive construciton can readily be seen as you stand a full five feet below the Broad Street pavement.

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