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One of the more obscure and well documented places you may choose to visit is the Hoosac Tunnel in Florida, MA. In fact, it’s often hailed as one of the “most haunted places in New England”. This is a 4.75 mile railroad tunnel that runs under the Hoosac range. The tunnel project was begun in 1848 and completed in 1875. When it was completed, it was the second longest tunnel in the world and the longest in North America.
The tunnel received the knick name “The Bloody Pit” for the many deaths that occurred during its creation. According to some sources, as many as 200 people died during the project. According to Wikipedia.org, this project was the first time nitroglycerin was used commercially. Many deaths were due to the instability of this substance. Even prior to the introduction in “nitro”, many more died using black powder to blast away the rock from the base of the mountains.
The most tragic accident occurred in October of 1867 while workers were boring out the tunnel’s 1028’ central ventilation shaft. Apparently, a candle ignited naphtha fumes which had leaked from a “Gasometer” lamp. This caused an explosion which resulted in the hoist catching fire and collapsing into the pit. The pumps also failed which lead to the shaft beginning to fill with water. Reports indicate four men working near the top of the shaft escaped the explosion, though the 13 working below weren’t so lucky. A man was lowered into the shaft the following day and was overcome by the remaining fumes. He reported there were no survivors when he returned to the surface.
Unfortunately, several months later, when workers made it to the bottom, they discovered that the 13 in the shaft had indeed survived. They had built a raft out of materials at hand but had appeared to have eventually been suffocated by the fire.
As the fatalities began to grow in number, many of the workers started calling the tunnel The Bloody Pit. It was bad enough that some crew members simply walked off the job never to return.
There are many ghost stories associated with the “Pit” that began during its creation and have continued through the years since. These include a suspected murder that led to another one year later. We encourage you to review some of the many fascinating resources available on the Hoosac Tunnel to learn more before you visit:
Below are directions to the Hoosac Tunnel beginning at the rotary in Greenfield where Route 91 exits off on to route 2, the Mohawk Trail. Before you venture out there, understand, some of this may be private property. Be careful and be sure to no trespassing signs and respect the rights of property owners. We’ve decided to provide directions to the East Portal since it’s accessible from the road. You can find directions to the West Portal on-line as well, though you will be wandering on to privately owned property and could run into problems with local authorities.
- Follow Route 2 West into Florida.
- Turn right on to Church Road. This is a dirt road so take it slow and be careful.
- At the bottom of the hill turn right on to Whitcome Hill Road.
- When you come up on the Deerfield River, turn left on to River Road.
- Roughly ½ mile up the road you will find the rail crossing. The tunnel will be up the tracks to the left.
Other places to visit along the way:
Be sure to plan to have lunch or dinner on the Hairpin Turn! There’s a great little restaurant right on the apex of the turn called The Golden Eagle. If the weather is good, be sure to request a table on the porch. The food is good and the views are incredible! To reach The Golden Eagle, backtrack to route 2 and continue west. You can’t miss it!
You may also wish to break off of Route 2 just a little before you reach Florida. Watch for signs for Shelburn Falls and the Bridge of Flowers. Shelburn Falls is a beautiful little New England town with small shops in downtown. It boasts two very popular tourist stops, the Bridge of Flowers and the Glacial Potholes.
Haunted Destination Hoosac Tunnel
Originally featured in our Haunted New England handout at the Springfield Motorcycle Show...
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Links to other interesting pages: