To the Editor: Tunnel Death Toll


Clover Carroll, author of “The Light at the End of the Tunnel,” is one my favorite Gazette columnists. I truly appreciate her excellent summary of progress with the Blue Ridge Tunnel restoration.

Somehow an important error has crept in to her well-written article. Please allow me to make a correction.

Accidents and the cholera epidemic did not kill 170 men at the Blue Ridge Tunnel. From fourteen to fifteen Irish laborers died in the passage during the construction years of 1849–1859. Three enslaved men died on tracks leading from the west portal of the passage in April–May 1854. At least thirty-three Irish men and their family members died during the cholera epidemic during the summer of 1854. This does not add up to the figure of 170 and should not be repeated as fact.

Endnote number 170 in my book, The Virginia Blue Ridge Ridge Railroad, refers to cholera deaths. Perhaps the number was misinterpreted.

Thank you, Crozet Gazette, for keeping the public up to date with the latest news about the Blue Ridge Tunnel.

Mary E. Lyons


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