In between the restaurants, shops, and landmarks of a city is a network of passageways often overlooked by curious travelers and residents alike. And while many alleyways are merely repositories for garbage and faded graffiti, a few are slender portals that reveal the history of a location and what makes a place truly unique.
In Cardiff, Wales, a small walkway that connects Working Street and Trinity Street acts as a shortcut to the bustling Cardiff Market. Unbeknownst to many who cross Dead Man’s Alley, they are actually traversing over the remains of a cemetery. Along the path are a few emboldened metal numbers, markers for where bodies were—and perhaps still are—buried beneath the cobblestones. In Boston, Massachusetts, nestled between a hair salon and Dunkin’ Donuts, an alley offers a step back to the city’s colonial past. A journey down the narrow, cobblestone Scott Alley opens to Creek Square, home to a collection of buildings that have remained unchanged since the 18th and 19th centuries.
From the Nashville alleyway where the Everly Brothers got their big break to a narrow passage that John Wilkes Booth used to escape after shooting Abraham Lincoln, these are 17 alleyways filled with hidden history.