Friday, August 29, 2008

The Infamous Calderwood Tunnel

This is Charlie Wimmer in the bow near the north end of the tunnel. We had to lay on our backs and pull our way through the tunnel. Too bad we could not go all the way through!

Here we are at the south end (upper end). Notice the "light at the end of the tunnel". That is as far as the tunnel goes. This was built in 1914 to allow a Southern Railway train to operate along the river bank of the Little Tennessee River to the Santeelah and Cheoah dam construction sites. If I am not mistaken this would be the same train that ran along side the river bank and across Babcock Trestle and into Maryville. wonder if it was the same one which carried loads of slate from the Panther Creek slate quarry "1886 Abrams Creek Roofing Slate Company)?
The lake itself is about 541 acres, 6.5 miles long and the dam is 232' high making this lake about 273' higher than Tellico lake! That's a lot of water being held back! The crews built the dam but left a passageway at the base of the dam for the train to operate throughout construction. The tunnel through the dam was between floodgate 7 and 8. I believe the dam was finished in 1930 so that means the river, railroad and this tunnel has all been covered for 78 years. Now here is the cool part...rumor has it that there are some flat cars still on the tracks inside the tunnel. One day I will SCUBA this tunnel and post more picts of what lies beneath!


Scott Hall said...

Hey Jeff,

I was looking for a map of that trip we did and stumbled upon you blog through a google search! This was my favorite outdoor trip by far (sorry about the rice!) Do you have a map of showing where we parked, camped, tunneled, and peaked over the dam? I want to do this trip again with some guys the details are fuzzy. Want to guide us? Heard you are in Kingsport now? Go eat at Ridgewood's BBQ if you are!


Jeff Wadley said...

Kerry it will be easier to,tell you than type it. Email me at