- We are known as PaWingers or just The Wingers by our Geocaching friends. When we found our first cache we had to come up with a name to log the find. We came up with this name simply because of residing in Pa. and because one of our many passions is cruising this beautiful country on our Honda Goldwing. Aside from geocaching we are passionate about most anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling and biking. We are blessed beyond words with a wonderful son and daughter in law. We're also blessed with some terriffic family and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate due to the fact that after being married over 40 years we still enjoy these things together.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Can't go over it, just go through it!
It's always amazed us when we would mention something that we assumed everyone knew about but would then realize that most were unaware of it. In this particular entry I will be talking about a hole in a hill in Caledonia. Okay, some may choose to call it a tunnel and they would be politically correct, but it still is a hole in a hill. Some say potatoe and some say potato...... Okay, I digressed for a bit so someone quickly reel me back in.
Okay, moving forward now lets talk about this tunnel. If you haven't figured it out by now, we have a slight fascination with tunnels. This particular one can easily be seen without leaving the blacktop, or for that matter you don't need to leave the comfort of your car. You can bet your sweet bippy we did get out of our car. In fact we have walked through this tunnel many times both in the darkness and in the daylight but that is another story in itself.
The first time we walked through this tunnel I remember looking up at the keystone on the east end of the tunnel. The date was 1876. Hmmm, I clearly recall the date on the west end saying 1873. Well, the reason for that is that the tunnel began on the Weedville side in 1873 and finally the exit end on the Benezette end was completed in 1876. It took 3 years to complete this hole in a hill. If you think about it they didn't have all the fancy equipment and technology back in the late 1800's so we think they accomplished something amazing. It still looks real good and it still is part of an active rail system.
So if we have wet your appetite and have you starving for more, there is more indeed. If you get up close and personal with this tunnel you won't have to venture very far to notice the signs indicating that this tunnel is an official Fallout Shelter. There is a sign at the entrance and another just a little ways into the tunnel. During the Cold War this tunnel would have been used as a fallout shelter if necessary. Thankfully that wasn't necessary.
When I make entries into Whoda' Thunk the info either comes from the space between my ears or it may require lots of research. If it comes from the space between my ears it's the info that I have packed into my head over the years and have decided to share it with you. Sometimes I get lucky and the info just kind of slides right into my hands. This is the case as I share some more info about this tunnel. We thank our good friend Bubba for providing the rest of this info.
This tunnel was once used as an icehouse or cold storage. There would be huge blocks of ice cut from the lake at Parker Dam and transported to this tunnel. The ice would be used in the refrigerator cars to keep the milk, meats, beverages and other food cold during transit on the rails. The tunnel was also used to keep food cold during the summer months. In fact there were once huge doors that would close off the entrance and exit to this tunnel to make it a more efficient ice house. When a train would come they would need to open the doors to allow the train to pass through. There are holes still very visible that were drilled into these huge stones where the doors were hinged from. Pretty cool, huh! In the spring they would drive a machine through the tunnel to knock down all the ice hanging from the ceiling so the train could pass through. We can attest to the ice formations that adorn this tunnel in the winter and into spring.
Whoda' Thunk there could be so much written about a mere hole in a hill!
If you look at the upper part of this picture you will see a home that is almost directly above the tunnel. As we walked through the tunnel there was continually water dripping from the ceiling of the tunnel. I mentioned to my wife that perhaps it was not water but actually coming from their septic system above us.
1873 on the West end
1876 on the East end