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Nostalgia, Curiosity Draw Hundreds to Tour Tunnels Under Akron

photo of Jim Putt
Jim Putt worked in the Goodrich complex from 1980 until 1986. He came to see the tunnels for nostalgia. He brought his sister, Diane Conrad, since she was interested in learning more about reported paranormal activity in the tunnels.

More than 200 people got to explore a series of underground tunnels over the weekend, beneath the former B.F. Goodrich headquarters in downtown Akron.

The dark, slightly musty tunnels – with peeling paint and faded signs on the walls – once formed a network for Goodrich workers to travel between the company’s 41 buildings, bypassing traffic and possible bad weather. Today, many of the tunnels are walled off, since some of the buildings above them are long-gone. But on Saturday, the largest remaining section was opened to the public. Jim Putt said he was there out of a sense of nostalgia, since he worked in the complex from 1980 until 1986.

“I remember walking through the tunnels and there were clouds of carbon-black Sulphur and soot floating around in the air. Tow-motors and carts and forklifts buzzing all about delivering materials and stuff to the various stations.”

The tunnel tour also included a look at a museum inside the complex with hundreds of B.F. Goodrich artifacts.

Tim Dimoff is President of SACS security -- which is headquartered in the complex – and he helped organize the tour.  He says the tunnels not only have historical value, but also seem to be the site of paranormal activity, such as unexplained voices and sounds.

“They’re definitely spiritual type of experiences.  And the unique thing is, they’ve all been positive. I think because this is almost 150 years of dedicated people, happy people, hardworking people who worked here.  And that positive energy got absorbed and some of it’s still here.”

Dimoff and the Summit County Historical Society partnered with Northeast Ohio psychic medium Laura Lyn for the event, and they plan to offer additional tours later this year.