A boon for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs!
A mile long 154 year old tunnel dug through solid granite in the Blue Ridge Mountains using only hand tools and black powder before dynamite was invented -- that is one of our local Civil War marvels.
Proposed by the renowned French civil engineer, Claudius Crozet, the Blue Ridge Tunnel was designed to connect railroads in the eastern part of Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley in the west. Confederate troops used it as a short cut to move quickly through the Blue Ridge Mountains during the Civil War.
Irish immigrants began carving the tunnel in 1848 and progressed at the rapid pace of 19 feet per month -- for 8 long years. Inevitably, the Catholic and Protestant laborers began feuding and were separated -- one group to work on the east side of the tunnel and the other to work on the west side.
Remember, as mentioned earlier, they used only hand tools and black powder, carving through solid granite. Here's the most amazing part -- when they met in the middle on Christmas Day 8 years later in 1856 they were only 6 inches out of alignment from each other!
The $1 million restoration and renovation work will soon begin on the tunnel which will eventually connect to the longstanding greenway project in neayby Waynesboro. It will be walkable and will have informative historical markers for the public to enjoy. The tunnel and its connecting trail through the Waynesboro greenway projet will have proximity to the Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah National Park.
This fascinating site is only a short and beautiful 1/2 hour drive from the Inn at Sugar Hollow Farm -- up and over the Blue Ridge from east to west.