January 05, 2015

Crystal City Underground Kayak Tour

Less than an hour south of St. Louis, retired military man Don Marsan conducts kayak tours of the 150-acre submerged lake that is part of an abandoned Pittsburgh Plate Glass silica mine that's now the Crystal City Underground subterranean entertainment and sports complex. Read Danny Wicentowski's profile of Marsan here. Photos by Tom Carlson.
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Don Marsan.
Don Marsan.
Don Marsan conducts kayak tours of the 150-acre underground lake that is part of the Crystal City Underground complex.
Don Marsan conducts kayak tours of the 150-acre underground lake that is part of the Crystal City Underground complex.
A participant in an underground kayak tour examines what was once a car wash inside the abandoned and flooded PPG silica mine.
A participant in an underground kayak tour examines what was once a car wash inside the abandoned and flooded PPG silica mine.
The remains of a car wash inside the abandoned PPG silica mine.
The remains of a car wash inside the abandoned PPG silica mine.
A hole was drilled in one of the underground pillars that support the mountain above the mine. Wiring and pipes were routed through the hole when the mine was operational.
A hole was drilled in one of the underground pillars that support the mountain above the mine. Wiring and pipes were routed through the hole when the mine was operational.
Many remnants of PPG's mining operation remain submerged in the flooded areas of the Crystal City Underground complex.
Many remnants of PPG's mining operation remain submerged in the flooded areas of the Crystal City Underground complex.
Tour guide Don Marsan over what was once the supervisor's shed.
Tour guide Don Marsan over what was once the supervisor's shed.
Crystal City Underground, a subterranean sports and entertainment complex,  lost a portion of its Frisbee golf course to rising waters inside the abandoned mine.
Crystal City Underground, a subterranean sports and entertainment complex, lost a portion of its Frisbee golf course to rising waters inside the abandoned mine.
Don Marsan approaches Crystal City Underground's tour barge dock.
Don Marsan approaches Crystal City Underground's tour barge dock.
This opening once vented diesel fumes and rock dust from the silica mining operation.
This opening once vented diesel fumes and rock dust from the silica mining operation.