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Naperville
Friday, April 12, 2024

Naperville’s Cow Tunnel

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 From the PN Nostalgia Archive

A PN Reader Writes:

I’m not sending anything in or requesting anything, but I wasn’t quite sure how else to contact you. For a school-related assignment, I am supposed to find where the old cow tunnel is located. I know that its near the train station and I think it might be at 12th and Main, and given your Naper Nostalgia site, I think maybe you could help me out. Thanks. —Yuan


View Naperville Cow Tunnel in a larger map

Answer: The cow tunnel is still there, but somewhat diminished in size and use. I think mostly raccoons and opossums travel through it now.

Animals do need our help when changes to the landscape affect their patterns. When the railroad came through Naperville in the 1860s its path split a farmer’s pasture in two. The railroad compromised and built a tunnel under the tracks so the cows could walk freely on the property.

The cow tunnel is located at Webster Street and the tracks. There is also another tunnel further east, south of Seager Park, but when the locals refer to the cow tunnel, the Webster Street tunnel is the one they are thinking about.

In the 1970s the cow tunnel was fenced off from human use because Mayor Rybicki felt there could be “hanky-panky” going on. As a young person who used the tunnel to get from my grandparent’s home to my cousin’s home it was a safe way through a dangerous line. I personally think it should be reopened.

Thank you for your interest! —Mary Lou Wehrli for Positively Naperville

EDITOR’S UPDATE 2017 / Community meeting on August 23, 2017, will explore reopening the Cow Tunnel.



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An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.
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