Tunnelview Historic Site

1665 Auen Rd., Saltsburg, PA 15681
40o 28' 4.729" N 79o 22' 31.291" W

Facilities | Directions | Park Map

History

This 16 acre site, adjacent to the Conemaugh Dam in southwestern Indiana County, contains significant remnants of transportation history.

The Tunnelview tale begins with the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. A 900' portion of canal visible at the site was part of the canal's Western division. The route extended from Pittsburgh to Johnstown, where the Allegheny Portage Railroad began. Once over the Alleghenies, passengers continued their trip to Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Constructing the canal through the rugged terrain of the Alleghenies was a monumental undertaking. Faced with steep terrain and a sharp bend in the Conemaugh River, engineer Alonzo Livermore routed the canal through Bow Ridge, the narrow strip of land within the riverbend. Once through the tunnel, the canal continued over a stone arch aqueduct across the river. This was the only site on the canal with an aqueduct and tunnel next to one another.

The Western division of the canal operated until 1852, when maintenance problems, financial insolvency, and competition from the railroads brought an end to the brief canal era in Pennsylvania. The canal tunnel was sealed off as part of the Conemaugh flood control project in 1952.

By 1864, the Pennsylvania Railroad had constructed a new tunnel and stone arch bridge here for its subsidiary, the North West Railroad. The PRR completed construction of another tunnel here in 1907, when the railroad was realigned. This realignment required the construction of a stone arch bridge which still stands. The bridge withstood the 1936 Johnstown Flood. A sign on the stone arch bridge shows the high water mark.

In 1952 the PRR realigned its trackage again, and constructed the high level iron bridge standing today. Today the bridge carries trains of the Norfolk Southern Railway. A fourth tunnel was constructed through Bow Ridge in 1989 to deliver water to a nearby hydroelectric power station.

For a more thorough explaination of the history of Tunnelview Historic Site, please see the Tunnelview Historic Site Brochure.

Ice structures in tunnel.

Stalagmites in Bow Tunnel, Jan. 15, 2013
Photo: Ed Patterson

Facilities

A pavilion, restroom, interpretive exhibits and a canoe launch are available at Tunnelview. The Army Corps of Engineers also offers extensive public recreation facilities at the nearby Conemaugh River Lake. Call 724/459-7240 for more information concerning the Corps facilities.

The West Penn Rail Trail runs through Tunnelview Couny Park. This trail runs between Saltsburg and the Newport Road trailhead near Blairsville. The West Penn Trail is operated by the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy.

More information regarding the facilities available can be found in the Tunnelview Historic Site Brochure.

Directions

Tunnelview Historic Site is located adjacent to the Conemaugh Dam in southwestern Indiana County. The site is located within a short driving distance of Saltsburg, Blairsville, New Alexandria and Clarksburg. A directional map with written directions is available.

Park Map

In order to help you find your way around historic and scenic Tunnelview park, you should review (and print) our Tunnelview park map (PDF).

Back to top