Friday, October 21, 2011

Wheeling's Tunnel Green

I'm on a Wheeling kick this week! 

In 1857, the Hempfield Railroad built a tunnel for their railway, but by 1861, the tunnel right of way was purchased by B & O Railroad.  It was rebuilt between 1904 and 1905, and as many believe, it was built directly under the small Hempfield Cemetery where many bodies were never removed for the construction.

The tunnel has also seen its fair share of deaths.  It is believed that in the early 1900s, a young man was killed by a passing train as he tried to walk the tracks through the tunnel, and another young man, an immigrant, was robbed and killed in the tunnel.

The tunnel was slated for demolition in 1980, but the city of Wheeling stepped in, and took over the tunnel, turning it into a popular pedestrian track along the Rails to Trails project line.  This act not only preserved the tunnel for future generations to enjoy as a hiking/walking path, but possibly preserved the ghosts as well...

Over the years, people have seen a number of spooky things within the tunnel.  They see the apparition of the young immigrant man floating above where the tracks once were.  His bloodied hand rises to cover his badly beaten face, as if fending off his attacker even in death.

Other apparitions are seen hanging from the ceiling of the tunnel, and even dripping a sort of "slime."  It is believed that these are the apparitions of those still buried above the tunnel, rotting and decaying and leaving their mark within the tunnel.

Still, others have seen shadowy forms at the end of the tunnel, that disappear only when approached.  Phantom sounds, such as muffled voices and banging are also heard within the tunnel.  So...the next time you're in Wheeling, cut through the Tunnel Green, as the locals call it (formerly known as the Hempfield Tunnel) on your way to Yesterday's...you may just see a ghost or two!

Update:  I recently read from another source that the small Hempfield Cemetery may actually be Peninsula Cemetery, or one of its reincarnations over the years.  A woman in a black cape has allegedly been seen at this tunnel, matching the description of the one seen at the Peninsula Cemetery.  Please see my entry on Peninsula Cemtery for more information, and if you have any information to clear this up, please let me know!

9 comments:

  1. Very interesting and complex history this one but important one. i like it very much.

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  2. Though it may have been called that originally, "Hempfield Cemetary" has been called Peninsula Cemetery since at least the early 1900s... While some of the more prominent tombstones were moved to make way for the interstate, most (as well as what bodies were dug up) were dumped near the creek. There are still a few scattered down there though I imagine quite a few have made it into people's private collections by now.

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    1. Thanks for that info, Benjamin!

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    2. Paninsula cemetery may have had other names. But the older part starts at Rock Point Road and has graves going back into the 1700's. It is not true that bodies were "dumped" during interstate construction. They were reinterred in greenwood cemetery mainly (about 1100 graves). Though many remains could not be positively identified they were all given burial services. A study of Wheeling News Register in the 1960's or WTRF archives will verify that. Having grown up in Goosetown during the 40-50-60's I followed this closely and one of our favorite ghost stories was "Jennie green teeth" who walked the tracks at night. I have seen things along the tracks at night and to this day I would swear to it.

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  3. Fact Check : 1. The cemetery above the tunnel is the Peninsula Cemetery, opened in 1850. The cemetery was cut in half by the construction of Interstate 70. 2. The tunnel is called the Hempfield Tunnel because it was built by the Hempfield Railroad which later became the B & O Railroad. 3. Tunnel Green is the park area adjacent to the tunnel, "Green" is another term for a public park or gathering area. 4. The tunnel was never slated for demolition but was sold by the B & O and eventually to the City of Wheeling.

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    1. Thank you for those corrections! Can you provide references so that I can check them out?

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  4. There was a hanging suicide under the bridge at the west end of the tunnel in the early 90's.

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  5. there has been numerous encounters with a lady standing off to the side of the side of the railroad tracks under neath of the bridge. legend says that she was trying to get of the train but tragically can ran over by it. Now, she is standing in her own deathbed. She is still standing of the to side of the railroad tracks still waiting for her train to arrive. The description that many of the people who had had an encounter with her said for her to have long, brown hair with her beautiful white dress on. Her location is underneath the bridge of Tunnel Green (Hempfeild Tunnel) off to the side where she was standing to get on the train.

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  6. There has been numerous encounters with a lady standing off to the side of the railroad tracks underneath of the bridge. Legend says that she was trying to get on the train but tragically got ran over by it. Now, she is standing in her own deathbed. She is still standing off the to side of the railroad tracks still waiting for her train to arrive. The description that many of the people who had an encounter with her said for her to have long, brown hair with her beautiful white dress on. Her location is underneath the bridge of Tunnel Green (Hempfeild Tunnel) off to the side where she was standing to get on the train.

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