Stumphouse Tunnel and Tunnel Hill

11 thoughts on “Stumphouse Tunnel and Tunnel Hill”

  1. Last time I was in the tunnel the 2nd gate was locked and you couldn’t even get to the air shaft. I’m glad to see they opened it up again.

    I’ve been in there many times but to the end of the tunnel only once. It gets pretty creepy back there.

  2. Thank you so much for the photos of Tunnel Hill and Stumphouse Mtn Tunnel. My GreatGreatGrandfather Henry Kelly died during the construction in 1859. “the first occurred the week before Christmas, when Henry Kelly, a bankman [another term for supervisor], fell from the top of Shaft #2. As he fell he collided with a bucket coming up carrying James Collins who was knocked out of the Tunnelling basket. Both men fell to the bottom of the shaft, some 175 feet below. Collins was killed instantly, and Kelly died a few minutes after being removed.” page 39 in The Rocky Road to Nowhere Betty L. Plisco BLUE GRANITE BOOKS, Incorporated, Jan 1, 2003 – 115 pages is but one of many descriptions. Contemporary reports in the Keowee Courier provide more details and witness statements.
    I have been in the Tunnel several times but, not knowing where to look, never ventured “up the hill” to the cemetery where we believe Henry Kelly was buried. I wish there had been GPS and good maps when I lived in Clemson. Hopefully I will return soon.
    BTW while Clemson no longer uses the tunnel for cheese production, Clemson Blue is now made on campus and available. I am sure you know this but though other readers should know.
    I will be sending My family a link to this Blog entry. May I cite this link, with proper credit in my family research??? -eb

  3. Nice pics, and write up too!! I have been here as well, a really neat place of history. I have also heard stories that there are also two other tunnels?? Ever heard of them or been there??? Thanks for sharing. David Busick.

  4. I went this morning and the first gate was locked. I’ve never been there before so i was really bummed out…

    1. My grandfather (Thomas K. Brown) was a 17 year old boy with his mother, (my great grandmother) 61, and two sisters 33 and 21, listed in the 1860 Federal Census as living at Tunnel Hill, SC (post office address). Thomas was a day laborer, apparently working in the tunnels. One can only guess what the other family members were doing in Tunnel Hill at that time.
      The family apparently moved away soon thereafter as Thomas joined the Confederate army in Swannanoa, NC in March of 1862. He survived three years of the Civil War and later became the first mayor of Black Mountain, NC when incorporated in 1893.
      I am an 88 year old man. I have been to the tunnel one time, and am very interested in communication with anyone who has an interest in the Tunnel Hill history.

  5. There was a powder mill located close to the tunnel during construction, along the Cedar Creek and Isaqueena Falls. Does anyone know the location?

  6. I am delighted to read your account of the tunnel and its history. As a boy, I lived above the tunnel at the Stumphouse Ranger Station, Sumpter National Forest. It was short hike from our house down the slope to the tunnel and over the falls, which in the late 1940s and early 50s was not a tourist destination. The air shaft and cemetery you write of were found on similar hikes but I did not know about the Irish settlement.

  7. I was told that I have family buried at the base of the mountain. Are your graveyard photos considered at the base of the mountain? Are any of the markers readable? Any info you might run across on the Cleveland family would be appreciated. Thanks. David Cleveland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.