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Haunted Muni

Thursday, October 29, 2015

In the darkness of the underground beneath Market Street is a long-forgotten spot that thousands of people pass by every day but few know what lies in the shadows of the tunnel. With Halloween weekend approaching, we decided to share a little history on what may qualify as Muni's spookiest and perhaps most "haunted" location.

Tunnel Approaching Abandoned Eureka Station inside Twin Peaks Tunnel | September 19, 2015
Approaching Abandoned Eureka Station in Twin Peaks Tunnel | September 19, 2015

Just west of Castro Station, the dark, narrow passageways linking the Muni Metro subway and Twin Peaks Tunnel open up into a wide, low-ceilinged space filled with rows of columns. This area houses the remains of the abandoned Eureka Valley Station, a dusty time-capsule from Muni's past. Even though trains still run by its platforms, no passengers have boarded or alighted here in more than four decades. A casual observer breezing past might never know that it's there, as very little remains of this subterranean streetcar stop that's as old as the tunnel itself.

Workers Digging Rock and Dirt for Construction of Twin Peaks Tunnel near Eureka Station | Circa 1916
Construction of Twin Peaks Tunnel near Eureka Station | Circa 1916

 

While we have no photos showing the station during its 50+ years of service, we've pieced together a brief history from what we do have and external sources. Eureka Station was first proposed in a 1913 transportation plan by Bion Arnold as the transfer point between the Twin Peaks and Sunset Tunnels, which according to this plan were to join together near Market and Eureka Streets. With the completion of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1917, the station opened to the public to serve the Eureka Valley and western Castro neighborhoods. By the mid 1920s, the Sunset Tunnel was becoming a reality but the plan to have it branch off of the Twin Peaks at Eureka never came to fruition and the station remained as a small neighborhood stop. In the early 1970s, Muni began construction on the Market Street Subway and the death bells tolled for the soon to be defunct Eureka Station, which was located at the planned juncture of the old and new tunnels. All that was left of it following the subway construction were two track ramps to the surface, emergency exit stairwells, and vacant benches on the dimly lit sections of the low platforms.

Abandoned Eureka Valley Station in Twin Peaks Tunnel | September 19, 2015
Abandoned Eureka Valley Station | September 19, 2015

 

 

Today, the only souls who spend any considerable time in this nearly forgotten corner of Muni's past are SFMTA maintenance workers who inspect and repair our subway infrastructure late at night after the trains stop running. Working these graveyard shifts in a lonely, dark tunnel must get pretty eerie and passing through this deserted station would surely try anyone with a penchant for the paranormal.

 

Perhaps the next time you find yourself whisking through this lonely stop, peering into the darkness outside the train, you'll catch a glimpse of the station as it looked in past, briefly lit by the soft, amber light of a passing ghost Muni streetcar...

 

Dig deeper into the past by checking out more photos on the SFMTA Photo Archive website and by following us on Flickr, Twitter, HistoryPin, and Instagram!