Stumphouse Tunnel – Mountain Rest, South Carolina
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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.
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.
Reflections on Stumphouse Tunnel
Everett Leigh, who took the third photo above, describes the scene he found at the Stumphouse Tunnel 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
GPS Coordinates: 34.809486,-83.122962
Stumphouse Tunnel Map
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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!