Who was Elias? Before his father's death he ran his company from India and Egypt. Could of he had become a religious man after living in those two countries, who is to say. After news of his father's passing he sailed home to live in the mansion his father had just finished the year before. On his return to Salem he planned to retire and become a man of leisure. Now ever since the beginning of this country, the sons of our wealthiest citizens tend to run though their inheritance real quick. Elias found this out the hard way after only 2 years of retirement. Not only was his spending immense, so was the upkeep on his father's mansionThis mansion was designed by Bulfinch and built by Samuel McIntire. In front of it was the South river which brought guests to this home by gondola. It was a money pit, but a pit connected to the tunnels in town. Elias would spend 13 years extending the tunnel in town before trying his hand at sea once more. Listening to a friend he bought a commodity which he soon found out was worthless once he reached Europe. Despondent he was walking on a mountain side in Spain. Napoleon was engaged with a battle on the otherside which scared 2,000 sheep around Elias' feet. Now Elias was saved. He was going to take all of those sheep back to America, create the first broad cloth loom, and move to New Londonbery N.H. with his friend John Fairfield. So what was so good about these sheep? They were Merino, a much softer wool than we had in America at the time.
He then sold the mansion and its property to his brother John Derby and his brother-in-law Senator Benjamin Pickman. They tore it down and built several properties on Derby Square which they promptly connected to the tunnels. Later his son Elias Hasket Derby III would create the Old Colonial Railroad and work with John Kinsman, superintendent of the Eastern Railroad, and connect the old train tunnel on Washington Street to the Kinsman Building which had a secret underground train station in front of it.
Read more about the history of the tunnels on our blog!