#53 Honeycutt tunnel

This eastern portal of Honeycutt tunnel is at 35.86638030, -81.969960.  The tunnel is 1,688′ long and about a half mile or so west of the Ashford Cut.  The reface date on the lintel is 1923. This, of course, is the penultimate tunnel on the line from Elkhorn City KY and Marion NC.  I stood and looked at this tunnel for quite a few minutes, knowing this was the end of an over two-year project to document these tunnels.  This was the last tunnel to be photographed, since we had gone into Marion two weeks earlier and had recorded the tunnel there.  My buddy walked over to an outcropping over to the right of  the line, back about 50′ or so, to investigate what appeared to be a cave.  It wasn’t, but he found two stone cairns there.  Since this tunnel is relatively isolated, I wonder if they were piled up by the workers here in 1907 – 1908.  Could have been grave markers, too, since many men, often foreign labor, died blasting out these tunnels and doing the hard labor of laying a railroad.


4 thoughts on “#53 Honeycutt tunnel

  1. Les Brown March 17, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I grew up nearly in sight of Honeycutt Tunnel and have walked through it several times. The Ashford Cut is right behind my home, I used to love to sit on top and watch the trains. Two Italian workers are buried on my grandfathers land. They were killed in a labor uprising during the construction of the Clinchfield. The big construction camp #6 was on my grandfather’s land.

    • Bob Lawrence March 17, 2016 / 5:26 pm

      Great information! Thank you! I’d read about the various labor problems that took place as they were building the line from Elkhorn KY to Marion NC. They were brutal and many bodies are buired along the line, either due to ill will, illness, or carelessness. It was a rough life for a working man, especially one who had, at most, a tenuous grasp of English.

  2. Donald Jones April 13, 2019 / 11:51 am

    I walked the tunnel back in 1992 to find a USGS elevation disk. The disk was gone so I had to return back to my truck. I later met a man who told me that a little boy back in 1936 made a belt buckle out of the disk. He was in his 60’s at the time and said that he was that little boy. The tunnel is kind of spooky to walk because it bends about in the middle

    • Bob Lawrence April 13, 2019 / 4:44 pm

      Amazing that you’d meet the man who, as a child, got the elevation disk. We’ve seen so much documentation chiseled off or defaced from tunnels, mines and bridges. Reminds me of the quote (who said it is debatable): Whatever is Not Nailed Down is Mine and Whatever I Can Pry Loose is Not Nailed Down

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