- More maps are available in Dark Passage: The Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel, a Multi-Touch book for iPad.
- 1850 Housing Map
- Railroad Construction Route
- Map of Ireland
The simple nineteenth-century map below shows an overview of the Blue Ridge Railroad and its partner, the Virginia Central Railroad, in 1850.
We speculate that the hundreds of Irish who arrived in Albemarle, Nelson, and Augusta Counties in 1850 overwhelmed the housing supply. Census records indicate that many of the men lived in barracks-like housing or large farmhouses, such as Albemarle dwelling number 1217. They may have been housed in the first year of construction near roads that led up to the mountains.
Initially the married men in these large dwellings lived apart from wives and children. Their families were housed in smaller dwellings relatively nearby.
Augusta County Irish working on the Blue Ridge Tunnel lived in shanties very near the west portal. Nelson County Irish working on the Blue Ridge Tunnel lived in shanties very near the east portal.
Railroad Construction Route
Think of the current map below as a foldout. It shows the approximate route of the Blue Ridge Railroad (dotted line) and the Virginia Central Railroad (solid lines). Irish workers built three additional tunnels (not shown) east of the Blue Ridge Tunnel. Click on the map to see it in a separate window. -->
Map of Ireland
The majority of Irish associated with the Blue Ridge Railroad and its partner, the Virginia Blue Ridge Railroad, were from County Cork.