Stumphouse Tunnel – Mountain Rest, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Oconee County Photos  |  Stumphouse Tunnel

Stumphouse Tunnel near the Oconee County town of Walhalla was designed as a railroad tunnel and built by Irish immigrants in 1852, with the goal of connecting Charleston to Knoxville, Tennessee, and eventually Cincinnati, Ohio. When the Civil War broke out, work on the railroad came to a halt. There were failed efforts to restart the work after the war ended, but eventually it was abandoned.

Stumphouse Tunnel Gate

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Clemson University bought the tunnel in 1951 and used it to cure their famous Clemson blue cheese for many years, as the environment was perfect for curing and gave the popular cheese its distinguished flavor. Later the cheesemaking lab was moved to the Clemson campus, with the conditions of the Stumphouse Tunnel duplicated to allow the cheese to retain its characteristics. However, the tunnel is still owned by Clemson and managed by the State Parks System. It is frequented by daytrippers from all over the state and surrounding areas. If you are able to visit the tunnel, make sure to also see the legendary Issaqueena Falls.

Stumphouse Tunnel in Walhalla SC

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

tumphouse Tunnel Interior

F. Everett Leigh of Union, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Stumphouse Tunnel in South Carolina

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Stumphouse Tunnel

Larry Gleason of Aiken, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Stumphouse Tunnel

Everett Leigh, who took the third photo above, describes the scene he found at St. Thaddeus in July of 2013: “When I told my old friend Adam Wright that I wanted to take some unique photos instead of just the beach, mountain, sunrise & sunsets I normally take, he invited me to his home in Oconee County. He had told me of the 300 waterfalls in the county, but when he told me of a Civil War railroad
tunnel that had been used to store cheese because of the constant year-round temperature, I had to visit and explore this myself. While closed off because of partial collapse further in, this was the “Light at the End of the Tunnel” I had always heard about as we returned to the entrance.”

Stumphouse Tunnel Info

Address: Stumphouse Tunnel Road, Mountain Rest, SC 29664

Stumphouse Tunnel Map

Stumphouse Tunnel – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Stumphouse Tunnel, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

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2 Comments about Stumphouse Tunnel

Mike HerkoNo Gravatar says:
December 11th, 2013 at 11:56 am

I went to Clemson in 1964 and 1965 and a trip to the cave was a regular with some of us after a steak supper in Walhalla. We would camp out there even in the freezing cold. When I returned on 1977 until 1979 I found a cabin to rent on Peaceful Valley Road near the old railroad bed. I could hear the falls every night. Wish it was still like that.

Charlie SutherlandNo Gravatar says:
September 6th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

When I was at Clemson in the mid ’60s, I discovered the tunnel. I would take friends for a ride in my noisy little Alfa Romeo and back the thing way back into the tunnel. It was scary and the noise sounded like the tunnel would cave in. Lots of fun!


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