There used to be an L&N rail line through Whitesburg KY. It’s gone now (the rails were pulled up in the late 80s), but this one tunnel and several deck girder bridges (constructed in 1912) remain. This unnamed tunnel (at 37.114941, -82.812306, more or less…couldn’t get an exact reading, since the tunnel cut is too narrow to allow a GPS reading and it’s difficult to see where the west portal is on Google Earth) is east of Whitesburg, near the city water works, through a ridge called “Tunnel Hill”. All the rails are gone and the tunnel is muddy as the Maytown tunnel is. It’s also short, maybe 150′ max. The first picture (say hello to Ranger, who manages to get in nearly every picture), is of the western portal (it’s unfinished, as is the eastern portal) and the next picture is looking out towards the east. It was just too wet to get through to the portal itself. The railbed from this tunnel on into Whitesburg (a neat little town) has been converted into a greenbelt. Judging by the rivet patterns on the bridges, the trains must have carried a fair amount of coal out of this area. (tip of the hat to Patty Hawkins and Lina Tidal of the Harry M. Caudill Library in Whitesburg for some of this information)
I remember this tunnel well, as I and my 5 siblings played in it, and around it, most of our growing up years. This was in the 1950s and if memory serves, it was still in use. The Kentucky River runs close by, and we would go through the tunnel when we were fishing the river.
We sometimes used it to cool off on a hot summer’s day, as it was always cool inside, and spooky, especially when the sun began going down. We would walk through it, and the older of us would make up ghost stories about happenings inside the tunnel and the younger of us would reach out and hold onto our shirts, as though it gave them a feeling of comfort and security.
We grew up on Tunnel Hill, and this was always simply referred to as “The Tunnel.” The small community of Tunnel Hill consisted of a few bedraggled houses perched on the hillside about a mile east of Whitesburg. There were two businesses almost on top the tunnel. One was a grocery store, which was actually almost directly on top of it, and the other was a lumber supply business,,,Stumbo Supply, which was on the opposite side of the road.
I have wonderful memories of those years. It was a thrill to see it again.
Thank you for the story! It is kind of a spooky tunnel.