The Legend of Sullivant's Hill:
In 1878 an already buried (hidden) limestone mine deep below Sullivant's Hill (Columbus' Hilltop), was chosen to become Orphan's hidden headquarters
America's Deepest Secret 1878-1929
In 1878, the United States was the only nation producing light bulbs, safety elevators, ventilation fans, telephones, advanced electrical systems, most of the planet’s locomotives, plus thousands of other independent inventions.
The keepers of America's secrets, Secretary of War, Alexander Ramsey, and a Mr. X, the Secret Service's director, realized that a combination of these fantastic new inventions would allow them to hide extensive facilities underground, which function as practically as visible buildings.
They took this vision to President Rutherford B. Hayes:
“Our nation's wonderful rights and freedoms have created a ruthless group of industrial dictators, who pay attorneys to bribe officials, and hoodlums, to eliminate everything else in their way."
"Since the Secret Service opened in 65, it has publically operated as presidential guards, and badge carrying constables chasing counterfeiters."
"So our agents are far too identifiable to penetrate these criminal operations."
"The Service needs a new secret branch, publically operating as something benign. This way we can get unknown agents inside these tyrant's organizations, to thwart their evil intentions before they strike.”
The President agreed.
Since the Secret Service already ran four 'public' offices in the country's largest eastern cities, and a fifth in San Francisco, they decided to hide this underground facility near the center of America's rapidly expanding web of railroads. From here they could dispatch these truly undercover agents around the country, most rapidly.
Hayes had the Mathematics Department of Washington University study this. Instead of sharping their pencils they checked with Washinton's Union Station, and discovered that Central Ohio was the center of the nation's railroads:
“From Columbus's Union Station, passengers reach 25 of the nation's 28 largest towns, in less than one day.”
President Hayes was also born and raised in Central Ohio. After being wounded 5 separate times in Civil War battles, he became a national (Northern) hero and rapidly rose to the ranks of Union General. He served some time running Camp Chase, a US Army base on top of Sullivant’s Hill (Now Columbus’ Hilltop).
While running Camp Chase, army security told him that one of the mines used to provide white limestone for Ohio’s Statehouse, was just west of his base, about ninety feet underground. Its entrances were ordered "sealed up and buried" by Ohio's Governor Shannon in 1839, after it stopped providing super-bright (valuable) stone.
By 1878, only the charred remains of a chicken farm, which operated briefly during the Civil War, occupied the land above that almost forgotten mine.
The site was perfect.
Eighty to ninety-two feet below the top of Sullivant’s Hill were four 18 foot wide passages, spidering out through solid stone. Each tunnel had twelve-foot ceilings and nearly level floors, so 90% of the excavation had already occurred.
Two of these tunnel passages snaked to the north, about a half-mile beneath the National Trail (now West Broad Street). The other two wiggled westerly for nearly three-quarters of a mile.
Due to an embarrassing mishap with a lunatic recruit during the war, which burnt this chicken farm to the ground, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the Department of War (today's "State Department") to buy the property. Sixteen years later, those charred ruins were still sitting on federal government books.
Its southeast border was a railroad, and the site had far more land than was needed to build a locomotive garage above the mine.
By the end of 1879, the Secret Service had erased, rewritten, or burned up, every written reference (or map), that mentioned this mine. However, Hayes' biggest remaining problem was explaining why the government needed a train station in these boondocks, several miles away from anything else.
Two years later (March 1881), just several weeks after President James A. Garfield (also from Ohio, and another general who served at Camp Chase), replaced Hayes as president, he appointed Hayes as director of this new federal service:
The National Orphan Relief Agency (NORA)
"NORA will provide emergency medical care for America’s poor orphan children, after suffering severe injuries, which happens far too often in our nation's many dangerous new factories," Garfield proclaimed.
Hayes' first assignment: “Build the ‘National Hospital for Orphan Children,’ at a central location so that we can retrieve these poor parentless babies by train, as rapidly as possible.”
Hayes found an old burned-down chicken farm, sitting on government books, about six miles west of Ohio’s bright limestone statehouse, already bordered by rails.
Because passenger trains were significantly slowed down by stopping at many stations along their routes, Hayes and Garfield decided that NORA should operate private "Orphan Ambulance Trains," to rush these poor babies to Columbus, non-stop.
Two months after construction started (in 1881), a lengthy (40,000 square foot), tin-sided wood post building, called the Orphan Ambulance Garage, was already operating beside the tracks. It had to open rapidly so the massive loads of equipment and materials, plus hundreds of daily workers and engineers could enter the shafts to the four bright stone passageways below, directly from their trains, without anyone outside noticing.
Ten months later, NOMA's dinky hospital for orphan children, at 1/4th the size of its orphan ambulance garage, opened about 150 feet to its north.
While Thomas Edison's engineers were secretly installing Orphan's steam-powered Direct Current (D/C) electrical system under Sullivant's Hill, he met with Hayes, at his Manhatten laboratory. There he introduced Hayes to an amazing young inventor that he brought in for a working visit, from a place called Croatia.
His name was Nicola Tesla.
After Edison left his office to break up a fistfight between engineers, Hayes asked Tesla for his thoughts about developing trains that could maximize rail speed, "so NOMA can rapidly rescue America's severely injured orphan babies."
The young genius over-flowed with ideas, plus a powerful desire to build the fastest machines on earth. So he agreed to provide Hayes with his ideas.