The now abandoned Moonville tunnel in Ohio is one of those places you stumble across in the woods and just think, “What’s this place’s story?”
Moonville Tunnel History
It all started in the mid 1800s when railroad owner William Cutler was carving a path through southeast Ohio to try and reach Cincinnati.
As Mr Cutlers money began to dwindle, he began looking for ways to save money while still pressing forward with his railway.
He eventually struck a deal with a man by the name of Samuel Coe who convinced William to build on his land, free of charge. In exchange, the railroad would haul clay and coal off of his property.
This deal saved the railroad, and allowed it to continue on, all the way to Cincinnati.
Several coal mine sprouted up over time, and soon the new town of Moonville was born.
Moonville never was a large town, but had a store and maybe around one hundred or so people at it’s peak. Rumor has it the town was named after a man named Moon, who worked at one of the general stores.
Since the town was born from the railway, walking anywhere was extremely dangerous. You either had to hike through the thick woodlands, or walk the railway.
By the 1920s at least six people had lost their lives on the tracks. 66 years later, a 10 year old girl would be the last victim the tracks would take.
The Fall Of Moonville
As the coal mines dried up, so did Moonville’s population. By 1947 the last family had left Moonville, and by the 1960s the town and all of it’s buildings had vanished.
The only remains of the old town is the town cemetery, and of course, the tunnel.
Due to dangerous crossing and overall less need for the route, CSX announced that it would be closing down the track permanently in 1988.
Moonville Tunnel Ghost
On November 10th 1880, Frank Lawhead and Charles Krick were walking alone at night on the tracks.
Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication from the train dispatcher the two never saw a second train along the tracks. Both were instantly killed and two trains collided creating a massive pile up.
Thus, the ghost stories were born.
Ever since there have been reports of strange lights, mists, and even full body apparitions in the tunnel and around the tracks.
Today, the tunnel is overgrown and abandoned. Moss and poison ivy grow on it’s walls as the tunnel slowly erodes. Due to dangerous conditions the tunnel is officially off limits.
If you’re interested in trail information you can find a more detailed map here.
Exploring inside can be dangerous. Many parts of the tunnel have collapsed, and the structure as a whole could be unstable.
No matter if you believe the ghost stories or not, the abandoned Moonville tunnel in Ohio still remains a fascinating oddity from a bygone era.