xCH&D Tunnels in Southern Ohio

The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad (CH&D) Wellston Division was initially constructed as part of the Dayton and Southeastern (D&SE), who had proposed a line southeast of Dayton, Ohio to Wellston in 1878 to connect to the developing southeastern Ohio coal markets. The Toledo, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad (TC&St.L) was completed in 1882 as a narrow gauge line from Ironton Junction south of Wellston to Bartles/Dean Junction, providing service to Kitchen, Gallia, Hoadley and Olive, several kilns and coal mines. The line was not successful and went through several receiverships and acquisitions beginning in 1884. The TC&St.L eventually became part of the CH&D in 1891 and converted to standard gauge in 1887.

The line south of Ironton Junction included four tunnels:

  • Tunnel #1 at Hoadley was brick lined.
  • Tunnel #2 at Hoadley was 693 feet long with a rock interior and timber portals, and partially concrete lined in 1916.
  • Tunnel #3 at Tar Kiln Run east of Dean, which has collapsed.
  • Tunnel #4 at Royersville, which was operated by the Iron Railroad, later part of the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad (DT&I). This tunnel is unlined.

In 1916, some tunnel improvements were completed south of Wellston at Tunnel #2. The CH&D was absorbed into the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) network and became the Toledo Division. The railroad south of Wellston, totaling 35 miles, was abandoned due to a lack of originating traffic and flooding that had washed out much of the line.

A view of the CH&D alignment south of Olive Furnace. OH 93 was later built on top part of the alignment.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Tunnel No. 1 at Hoadley was brick lined.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Tunnel No. 2 at Hoadley was 693 feet long with a rock interior and timber portals, and was partially concrete lined in 1916.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Below: A spur from the CH&D, later served by the DT&I after the railroad was abandoned, served the Du Brul/Pyro/A.P. Green fire brick factory. The plant, 4.5-miles northeast of Oak Hill, was originally built by the Du Brul Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was incorporated on September 15, 1903 by E.F. Du Brul, H. Whyrich, F. Broerman, D.S. Du Brul and W.G. Griffiths, all from Cincinnati. The company had proposed both a cement and fire brick plant, but only the latter was ever completed.3

On May 28, 1909, Du Bru was reorganized into the Pyro Clay Products Company with an authorized capital of $150,000.2 It was headed by E.F. Du Brul as President and W.G. Griffiths as Secretary and General Manager. It was a tight affair: it’s board of directors was comprised of E.F. Du Brul, W.G. Griffiths and Napoleon Du Brul.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Below: Pyro was developed as a company town in 1918, and featured 30 residences, a company store and school. While Pyro was hard hit with competition, it eventually became known for its famous Pyro fire brick that was used in steel mills across the United States.2 In 1930, Griffith and some associates purchased the Du Brul family’s interest and the firm was reorganized with W.G. Griffiths as President.

Pyro later purchased The Durex Refractories Company of Jackson and The Portsmouth Clay Products Company of South Webster.2 In 1953, the company name was changed to The Pyro Refractories Company, and purchased three years later by the A.P. Green Refractories Company 2 of Mexico, Missouri, and Pyro was made a subsidiary of The United States Gypsum Corporation. The plant was significantly expanded with a new refractory speciality plant in 1971.

 

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Below: A view of Ed Davis Road in Glen Roy, part of the DT&I/Hocking Valley Railroad Jackson Branch. The CH&D was to the right.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Below: A view of the CH&D through Glen Roy, west of Wellston.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Below: A view of the CH&D in Wellston. The DT&I/Hocking Valley Railroad Jackson Branch crossed at a diamond behind this vantage point, and continued northbound, paralleling the CH&D.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad

Sources

  1. Davis, Evan Edward. “The Pyro Clay Products Company.” Industrial History of Oak Hill, Ohio. N.p.: n.p., 1973. 39-40. Print.
  2. Davis, Evan Edward. “The Du Brul Company.” Industrial History of Oak Hill, Ohio. N.p.: n.p., 1973. 39. Print.

6 Comments

  1. Any information on whether tunnel no. 2 collapsed accidentally or if they did it purposefully on abandonment?

  2. Excellant photos. Have studyed area for a long time, being a native of Jackson, Ohio. Never realized these tunnels ever exsisted. Thanks!

  3. I have been doing genealogy research on my mothers side of the family. the Faulkner’s. They were the first white settlers in what is now Greenfield Township, Gallia County, Ohio and Madison Township, Jackson County, Ohio.
    Out of sheer interest I was able to locate the CH&D Hoadley Railroad Tunnel #1 which runs under Dry Ridge Road barely inside Gallia County. It has almost totally collapsed in on itself, the north portal is completely covered over and very little is left of the south portal. I have tried to locate the CH&D Hoadley Tunnel #2 which is close by but in Lawrence County but with no success. I understand that this tunnel is in better shape because it was relined in 1916 and their is a plaque inside the north portal acknowledging this. My directions are very vague but this is what I have found, when Dry Ridge Road in Gallia County passes into Lawrence County it becomes Telegraph Hill Road and a short distance away is a crossroads with Dry Ridge Tunnel Road to the north and Negro Creek Road to the south. I have been looking for the tunnel off Negro Creek Road south of Telegraph Hill Road. Any help with more specific directions would be appreciated would be appreciated.
    If interested a month ago I was able to locate and hike to the Cambria Iron Furnace which is easily the most remote furnace in Ohio. I found that is in fairly good condition for it’s age. It is interesting because many of my descendants worked at the iron furnaces and the CH&D and it’s previous owners serviced many of the furnaces in the area.
    Thank you,
    Norman Graham

    • it is 6 tenths of a mile from telegraph road on negro creek road. there is actually a 4-wheeler path on the left hand side of the road that will lead you to the lined side with the plaque. it’s in fair shape considering 100+ years of the elements. you will need tall rubber boots if you want to venture in to see the plaque. the other end of the tunnel is just about collapsed in. i plan on takeing a closer look to see how far back it goes one of these days

  4. hoadley #2tunnell is 6tenths of a mile from telegraph road on negro creek road.. the concrete lined side is to the left and is in faily good shape considering a hudred years of elements but the other end of the tullel is just about collapsed in.

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