Mid-1800s Real Photo Stereoview of the Hoosac Tunnel, North Adams, Massachusetts

This stereograph card is a view of construction in progress of the famed Hoosac Tunnel, a 4.75 mile tunnel through the Hoosac Range in western Massachusetts, which was built to provide a direct railroad line between the city of Boston and the West.

Published by W. P. Hurd, North Adams, Mass., apparently as part of a "Views of North Adams and vicinity" series, its handwritten title is: "Hoosac Tunnel East End" (in very faded pencil). There is no date, but this photograph had to have been taken sometime between when work began in 1852 and probably the 1860s because it shows what must be early construction as men wait on a worktrain to enter a ragged hole in the mountainside. It is easy with a magnifying glass to see details of individuals, including one riding a harnessed mule, a small engine belching clouds of steam and a tall ladder stretching over the tunnel entrance.

Printed on a darker cream color heavy stock, this card is 3-1/2 x 7 inches in size, with rounded corners and what should be two square photographs; however, the left photo is indeed 3"x3" square while the right photo is 3" high x 3-1/4" wide.

CONDITION: Amazing for its age, with some age darkening and only slight bumps on all four corners. There is overall "desk drawer grunge," light surface bumps and scuffing. The photo is adhered as tightly as ever, with little fading.

If you tilt the card in light you can see some very old, light water damage line across the bottom that runs up and down both edges but is hard to see on the photos, and a brown surface mark on the left picture below the tunnel opening. The two fine black horizontal lines near the bottom are in the photograph(s).

BACKGROUND: There is a great deal of historical information online about the Hoosac Tunnel. Built between 1852 and 1875, with many false starts and stops and after taking 193 workers' lives, it is 4.75 miles long. At its completion it was the second longest tunnel in the world, and today is still the longest transportation tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains. The first train passed through it in 1875.

Item ID: JLB-9

$35 $29 USD SALE

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