Support & Donate

Please help support our mission to restore and preserve the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel as a valuable historical asset and recreational destination for both Nelson and Augusta counties in Virginia. The tunnel project will incorporate a trailway through the restored tunnel, accessible from both sides by trail hikers, walkers and bicyclists, linking to existing trail systems.


Tax-deductible contributions are gladly accepted. The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation.

Mail your check payable to Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation to:

Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation
P.O. Box 636
Lovingston VA 22949

(434) 263-7015


Proceeds from purchases of The Blue Ridge Tunnel: A Remarkable Engineering Feat in Antebellum Virginia and The Virginia Blue Ridge Railroad by Mary E. Lyons will be donated to the Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation.

The Blue Ridge Tunnel: A Remarkable Engineering Feat in Antebellum Virginia

Mary E. Lyons

In one of the greatest engineering feats of his time, Claudius Crozet led the completion of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1858. Two centuries later, the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark still proudly stands, but the stories and lives of those who built it are the true lasting triumph. Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Hunger poured into America resolute for something to call their own. They would persevere through life in overcrowded shanties and years of blasting through rock to see the tunnel to completion. Prolific author Mary E. Lyons follows three Irish families in their struggle to build Crozet’s famed tunnel and their American dream.

The Virginia Blue Ridge Raiload

Mary E. Lyons

In 1849, Virginia began a bold railroad expansion toward the Ohio River and its lucrative trade connections. The project’s plan covered 423 miles and called for piercing two mountain chains with three railroads. The Blue Ridge Railroad was the shortest of these but crossed the most mountainous terrain. At times, hired slaves, who prepared the tracks, and Irish immigrants, who blasted the tunnels, faced challenges that seemed almost insurmountable. Many were killed by explosions and falling rock. Those deaths often resulted in labor strikes. The unrest slowed progress and haunted chief engineer Claudius Crozet for seven years. In this first full-length history of the Blue Ridge Railroad, award-winning author Mary E. Lyons uses a wealth of historical documents to describe construction on what Crozet called “dangerous ground.”