Glencoe Tunnel

The OES visited Glencoe Tunnel on November 3, 2012. The town of Glencoe was established along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1855, but a post office known as Corinth existed there in 1851. The area was settled in the early 1800s by the Ault family, who operated a successful flour mill in what was to become Glencoe. Between October 1846 to the following May, the mill ground and shipped 10,000 barrels of flour. The railroad came through the area in the mid-1800s, when the tunnel was likely constructed. Fast-forward fifty years and the town’s population had surpassed two hundred by the early 1900s. The growth was mostly attributed to miners employed by the Belmont Coal Mining Company taking up residence in Glencoe. But when the coal business moved from the area, the population declined. The rail line likely closed in the 1980s, although we are not sure of the exact date of its closure.

The northwestern face of Glencoe Tunnel appeared almost identical to the more well-known Moonville Tunnel. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad purchased the Moonville line in the 1880s and renovated both Moonville Tunnel and Glencoe Tunnel in the early 1900s. It is likely that the same architect was used for both tunnels. Glencoe Tunnel, at a length of 1,320 feet, is about twice the length of Moonville Tunnel. The first third of the tunnel we explored was constructed of brick, with pockets built into the wall for those who found themselves trapped inside the tunnel when a train was approaching. The center of the tunnel was just as large as the brick section, but it was built with timber. The last third of Glencoe Tunnel was also built with timber, but it was not as high and wide as the rest of the tunnel. The construction of this last section closely resembled King’s Hollow Tunnel. Several pieces of wood along the walls of this section had fallen and rocks from behind the wall spewed onto the old rail bed. It was in this section of the tunnel that we found a rather large knife and used candle. This discovery is among the strangest items we have found anywhere. There was also a power outlet in this section of the tunnel, so electricity had been installed there at some point. This end of the tunnel was also flooded, so we were unable to take photos of the tunnel’s southern face. We recorded for EVPs and did an EMF sweep of the tunnel but did not find anything out of the ordinary.

There have been several interesting incidents at or around Glencoe Tunnel including at least nine deaths, each of which are described below. A large fire occurred at the tunnel in October 1887, likely caused by a passing engine. The Wheeling Fire Department was dispatched to the tunnel and back-up firefighters were on stand-by to leave on a special train from Newark, almost one hundred miles away. The Wheeling firefighters got the blaze under control, negating the need for the Newark Fire Department to respond. Another fire was documented in October 1939 when a fire broke out at the east end of the tunnel, causing railroad traffic to be rerouted for several days. No one was reported injured in either of the fires. In September 1898, brakeman J.A. Poulton was injured when his head came into contact with the tunnel’s roof. His injury was not serious and he returned to work a while later. Fireman J.P. Palmer was nearly suffocated by gas while in Glencoe Tunnel in August 1901, but he was able to recuperate. In December 1904, one of the cars of B&O train number 25 broke at the east end of the tunnel, causing considerable damage. Rail traffic was delayed several hours as the men repaired a portion of the tunnel that had been knocked down. Another partial cave in occurred in March 1914, causing trains to be detoured.

The first recorded death we found around the Glencoe Tunnel was that of Lewis Rutherford. He was killed in a train accident that occurred at the tunnel on February 18, 1883. Five days later, Will Graham, a brakeman, also died from the injuries he sustained from the same incident. The men were buried Clyde and Salesville respectively. The next documented death occurred on April 18, 1896, when 25-year-old brakeman Edward (Charles) Hickson was struck by the roof of the tunnel while he was running over the cars. Hickson was knocked off the train and fell under the wheels, causing instant death. Trainmen gathered his remains and they were sent for interment in his hometown of Washington Court House.

In September 1897, three glassworkers, Richard Kain, George Dunlap, and William Colville, were held up as they rode in a box car by four men with guns. The thieves robbed the trio of their money, watches and rings as the train traveled along at 25 miles per hour. Kain and Dunlap were pushed out of the car door near Glencoe and received minor injuries. Colville refused to leave the car and was beaten over the head with a gun and thrown off, he was fatally injured. The thieves-turned-murderers continued on to Barnesville where they broke open a loaded car and stole merchandise. Police officers from Cambridge eventually arrested six suspects in the crime.

Another death occurred in June 1904 when Mrs. Frank Flashman was trying to get her children away from an approaching train on an adjoining track in Glencoe. She was struck by the B&O passenger train and instantly killed. It would be over 20 years until the next death we were able to find. John Kovaly was walking home from Glencoe to Warnock when he was killed in Glencoe Tunnel. Officials ruled that John had been struck and killed by a passing train, but those who knew him and found his body said he had several stab wounds. John had supposedly been in Glencoe doing a little gambling and walked away with the pot of $34. It is believed that a group of men hid in the tunnel, waiting for John to pass through so they could rob him. He was then killed in the process.

A Glencoe native told us of another death relayed to him by his grandmother, but we were unable to find any supporting documentation. His grandmother had stated that there once was a pole along the tracks where the town would hang their mail bag to be picked up when the train passed through. A person aboard the train would use a long stick with a hook at the end to retrieve the bag from the pole, the train would not stop. One time the bag of outgoing mail somehow got wrapped around the pole. The man who tried to hook the bag was yanked from the train and killed.

Perhaps the most tragic deaths to occur at Glencoe Tunnel happened on Easter day, April 20, 1930. A group of children were playing around the mouth of the tunnel and on the trestle when a Baltimore & Ohio passenger train on its way to New York from Cincinnati came barreling through the tunnel. The children scattered for safety, but two sisters, Anna, 5, and Rosie, 13, did not make it. They apparently became confused and grasped each other’s arms. The train struck the girls and dragged their bodies down the track for about 100 feet before the train came to a stop. Anna Mazzie had been instantly killed, but her sister Rosie was still alive. Trainmen placed her in the baggage car and left full speed toward Bellaire to take Rosie to the hospital. Sadly, Rosie died in route. Both of the girls, the only children of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Mazzie, suffered broken necks and fractured skulls. The coroner, J.W. Neil, opened an investigation of the accident and found there was nothing the engineer could have done to avoid the tragedy. For many years afterward, the accident was known as Glencoe’s Easter day tragedy. Rosie and Anna were buried side by side at a double funeral in Glencoe’s cemetery. We were able to find their grave, right next to their parents’ tombstones.

Location Information: Private Property

Glencoe Tunnel is located on private property near the small village of Glencoe; Belmont County.

Photographs