Fort Worth

A spooky subway tunnel under Fort Worth? Yes, there is one (but you can't go inside)

Cowtown Underground: Exploring Fort Worth’s old M&O subway tunnel

The Star-Telegram's Gordon Dickson delves deep into Fort Worth's history by taking a journey beneath downtown into the subway tunnel that use to transport residents and shoppers from a parking lot near the Trinity River to Leonards Department Stor
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The Star-Telegram's Gordon Dickson delves deep into Fort Worth's history by taking a journey beneath downtown into the subway tunnel that use to transport residents and shoppers from a parking lot near the Trinity River to Leonards Department Stor

Many Fort Worth residents — particularly those who have moved here during the past 15 years — probably don't realize that 42 feet below the surface of downtown lies a spooky, abandoned subway tunnel.

The old M&O Subway tunnel has been sealed off since 2002, but three years ago the Star-Telegram got a chance to visit the old underground passage and shoot some video.

We visited the tunnel with members of the Leonard family, which once owned a landmark department store downtown.

From 1963 to 2002, the M&O Subway ferried shoppers from a remote parking lot on the north end of downtown to Leonards Department Store and later the Tandy Center mall at RadioShack’s headquarters.

Today, one entrance is buried under the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus and the other is secured by a padlocked chain-link fence that stretches across an archway in a limited-access high-rise office at 300 Throckmorton St.

Leonards Subway 06
Marty Leonard signs the wall that closes off the tunnel in the underground portion of the Leonards M&O subway line that runs under downtown Fort Worth in 2015. Star-Telegram archives David Kent

In all, the tunnel is approximately 1,000 feet long. During our tour, Ryan Johnson, asset manager for Spire Realty Group, which owns the tunnel, had the line of the day when he said this:

“If I was going to shoot horror movies and have zombies, and they were coming out of the center of the Earth, that is exactly the type of scene I imagine they’d be living in down there."

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson

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