10 Hidden Secrets in Famous National Monuments

by Shivam Khandelwal2 years ago
Picture 10 Hidden Secrets in Famous National Monuments

National Monuments are some of the most often visited places of all tourist attractions. The dilemma with such famous places is people only care to have a look at the sites where the majority goes. Although generally overlooked, these monuments can hold some of the craziest things in secret places. Here is a list of 10 such hidden secrets in famous national monuments. 

1 Beneath the expanse of the Brooklyn Bridge, there are hidden wine cellars that are no longer in use. They were created to help supplement the structure’s costs since merchants would pay to store their expensive bottles because the vaults here were always cool. 

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge (Image to the left), The caverns below the 60,000-ton granite entrances were dark and consistently cool, ideal places to house even the most delicate vintage Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne. Image Credit: The Library of Congress/npr.org, Paul Fitzpatrick/npr.org

The vaults were established in 1876, seven years before the bridge was open for public visit. These were originally created as an act of compromise. Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the bridge, wondered what they must do with the two embellishments that were in the path of construction. 

On both sides, Manhattan and Brooklyn, liquor companies were doing well and the engineer saw it as an opportunity to help out with the bridge’s huge $15 million budget. On each shore, the design of the bridge allowed wine cellars that were rented to local businesses to store bottles of wine. 

The engineer’s plan turned out successful, and for 40 years, many liquor vendors would use the cellars beneath the bridge. The chambers were below the 60,000-ton granite entrances, which made the places dark, cool, and ideal for storing delicate Bordeauxs, Burgundys, and Champagnes. 

By the 1910s, because of Prohibition, the vaults were converted into newspaper stores until 1933. Liquor was back into business after this but only for a few years until World War II when New York took over the cellar’s permanent management. (Source)


2 There is an abandoned ballroom on the top floor of Flinder’s Street Station which is the busiest railway station in Australia. The ballroom dates back to the bygone era of railroad romance but has been closed off from the public since 1985. 

Flinder’s Street Station
Flinder’s Street Station (Image to the left), the ballroom at Flinders Street station in July 2013. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com, Alicia Taylor/theguardian.com

The Australian railway station is so busy that nearly 100,000 travelers go through there every day. Only a few people know about the ballroom, and its doors are rarely opened. Even during an annual celebration of the Open House Melbourne, only special entry was granted to people with secret Golden Tickets. 

It was designed 11 years before the station was opened in 1910 by James Fawcett and H. P. C Ashworth. In no time it became a Melbourne icon and was first used as a lecture hall of the Victorian Railway Institute. 

By this time, it had all kinds of facilities like lending libraries, billiard rooms, table tennis, and a private gym with boxing rings. Public dances started filling the hall in the 1950s and 60s. 

The Victorian Government planned to renovate the entire station in 2017 including the ballroom. The dance artists can only hope this will happen, and the ballroom will be opened as a platform for them. (Source)


3 Inside a hidden manhole on the grounds of the Washington Monument, there is a mini- 12-foot-tall replica of the monument. It is actually used by surveyors as a Geodetic Control Point that helps synchronize all the government’s maps. 

Washington Monument
Washington Monument (Image to the left), The top of the mini-monument. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey/Slate.com

The small replica is officially known as “Bench Mark A,” which is a part of the network of a million control points spread across the country used by the National Geodetic Survey. These control points are starting points of any map or measurement and need to be extremely accurate, therefore they chose stable things like the miniature monument. 

Bench Mark A was most recently made use of after the 2011 Washington earthquake. Over the past century, it has risen 6.2 centimeters with an average rate of 0.5 millimeters per year. 

It was installed in the 1880s as a part of the trans-continental leveling program. By this time, the ground level was relatively much lower, therefore most of the monument’s foundation was still visible over the ground. 

It appeared emerging from the ground for a while and eventually was encased in a brick chimney and buried. The mini-Washington Monument is largely forgotten by the people outside the surveying circle. (Source)


4 The original designer of the Eiffel Tower created a secret apartment on the topmost or third level of the monument. He used the place for experimenting, reflection, and entertaining prestigious guests like Thomas Edison.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower (Image to the left), Gustave’s Apartment. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com, Serge Melki/Gustave’s Apartment – Eiffel via wikipedia.org

The private apartment atop the Eiffel Tower is not all wide and lavish but definitely cozy. It is furnished in a simpler fashion for scientists unlike the rest of the tower which is made of steely industrial girders. 

Built nearly 1,000 feet in the air, the apartment is a perfectly pleasing place. It features soft chimneys, wooden cabinets, and a grand piano with its walls covered in warm wallpapers. Attached to the apartment were some laboratory areas equipped with experimentation gears. 

Gustav Eiffel received several requests for renting the place even for a single night, and he rejected them all. He reserved it for reflection and prestigious guests. 

Currently, the apartment is open for public viewing with most of its furnishing remaining the same. Also, there are a couple of mannequins of Eiffel and Edison. (Source)


5 Underneath the Lincoln Memorial, there is a three-story, 43,800-square-foot basement that was forgotten until 1974. The place has its own plant life, an entire ecosystem, and graffiti from the original workers. 

 Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial undercroft (Image to the left), the basement underneath Lincoln Memorial.  Image Credit: National Park Service/atlasobscura.com, Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)/loc.gov

Anybody gazing down from the shrine room can see the underground floor that has an architecture like the World War II bunker. 

The construction of the Lincoln Memorial was started in 1914, and the workers first had to dig 40 feet deep before the work could start. To support the surface structure, they added dozens of concrete columns underground. 

This subterranean cathedral of concrete pillars was forgotten until renovations in 1975. When the bathrooms of the memorial were being renovated, the crew peeked into the foundation of the structure only to find a cave filled with stalactites and its own ecosystem. 

Graffiti made by the builders from 1914 was found on some of the pillars featuring cartoons covered in Plexiglas. After its rediscovery, the National Park Services offered flashlight tours of the basement. 

However, it was halted because a tourist in 1989 saw asbestos and reported it to authorities. There have been several proposals to put the hidden place into productive reuse, but nothing has been successful. 

In June 2017, National Park Services announced that they want to rehab the area for the centennial in 2022. (Source)

Also Read:
10 Ordinary Structures With Unusual Purposes

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