Alvah Crocker, Ayer High School, Fitchburg Massachusetts, Hoosac Range, Hoosac Tunnel, Massachusetts, New England, North Adams MA
History of the Hoosac Tunnel:
During the early 1800’s there was no direct route that connected Boston’s railroad to upstate New York. The completion of such a route was being sought in order to increase the transport of goods from businesses back and forth from these areas.
In 1825 a route was proposed by a man named who Laomi Baldwin surveyed the land for the proposed canal route but it was shot down. It was determined they would have to bore a hole through the mountain and that would be far too costly a venture.
Alvah Crocker, a paper mill manufacturer from Fitchburg, MA opened his Fitchburg Railroad in 1845 which traveled from Boston to Greenfield. In order to connect the railroad to New York, there would need to be a way through the Deerfield River Valley and somehow pierce through the Hoosac Mountain that stood in the way.
Tragedy in the Tunnel
Mr. Crocker obtained state funding in 1854 to start burrowing through the mountain near North Adams, MA, but many problems ensued. There were many issues including political, monetary, structural, engineering, etc. Thirteen years later, the tunnel, still under construction, met with tragedy. There had been deaths prior to this but on October 17, 1867, an explosion killed the 13 people inside the shaft. There are approximately 200 deaths in the Hoosac Tunnel, later nicknamed, “The Bloody Pit.”
The Haunted Hoosac
According to the book, “Haunted Massachusetts,” two of the deaths occurred due to an explosion during a premature detonation that was set off by a man named, Ringo Kelley. Kelley was never convicted of a crime. On the one year date of the anniversary of the explosion, Kelley was found strangled in the tunnel in the very spot the two men had been killed.
After this incident, many workers walked off the project because they stated they were hearing agonizing voices of people who were not there. The project almost came to a halt due to the number of employees who would not return so investigators were hired to put their minds at ease. It was an unsuccessful effort due to the investigators also hearing moans coming from the tunnel.
Phantom workers have been reported to be seen by many as well as mysterious lights, chilling voices, whispers and other unearthly happenings.
My son, Austin took a trip to the tunnel with his freshman class as part of a class called, “mountain classroom” at Ayer High School. He states they walked a little ways into the tunnel before coming out. He and his friends did not have an experience nor did they see anything unusual.
There is no trespassing in the tunnel so if you go, please be aware that it is still used as a functioning railway and police patrol the area. (I do believe the class had been given permission to enter when they did so there may be a way to contact someone for permissions. You may try the museum if you have a group or class who would like to go.)
If you or anyone you know have been to this location, please feel free to share your experiences or stories that you have heard about the location.
West Tunnel Portal
Above: East Tunnel Portal
The first train passed through the 4.75 mile, $20 Million tunnel in February of 1875 with the official opening July 1, 1876. A room was carved out in the center of the tunnel for walkers. Passenger service was suspended in 1958.
The Heritage State Park Museum & Visitors Center is located in North Adams, Massachusetts and houses many artifacts from the construction, an audio/visual presentation of the construction process as well as other educational material about the area.
Please visit the sidebar for more haunted locations. Feel free to share this post and head on over to my other blog site for inspirations, tips and tools on how to reduce stress and increase your peace and happiness at, The Peace and Happiness Project – Missy Bell.
- The History of the Hoosac Tunnel – Marc Howes – A Recap of the Book, “A Pinprick of Light” by Carl R. Byron
- Heritage State Park Museum
- Book, “Haunted Massachusetts – Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Bay State,” – Cheri Revai
- East Tunnel Picture found at New England Depot Website
- West Tunnel Picture found at Panoramio Website