Little tunnel, Cumberland Gap TN

Blogging the Railroad Tunnels

Recall, the Knoxville Cumberland Gap Louisville railroad company blasted through Cumberland Gap with a tunnel that was finished in 1889.  In the meantime, in 1890, Middlesboro burned to the ground, but quickly recovered and needed places for its people to go.  Middlesboro was going to be the Birmingham AL of Kentucky, if that makes any sense.  Iron was the key.  Fairly good iron, too.  Until the collapse of funding in 1892 and the recession of 1893, Middlesboro was the place to be.  In 1891, Harrogate built the fancy Four Seasons Hotel and a line was built to connect everyone up.  To get to Harrogate from Middlesboro, the line had to go through a ridge.  This tunnel became called the Little Tunnel, about 1,200′ long and reasonably sturdy (it began to collapse in the late 20th century and was converted into a pedestrian tunnel).  Here’s what the north portal, about 3,000′…

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