Less Traveled 2010

Tracy Pou



Oconee County's coolest place

Posted 8/6/2010 7:09:00 AM

Where is the coolest place to hang out in Oconee County this summer? Stumphouse Tunnel…literally. I visited Stumphouse for the first time during a recent trip to the Upcountry and boy was it hot! As I made my way up the small hill that leads to the tunnel opening, wiping beads of sweat the entire way, it hit me -- a refreshing stream of cool air that felt like someone had turned on a huge outdoor AC unit. What a pleasant summer surprise!

The temperature isn't the only cool thing about Stumphouse. Located just outside of Walhalla on Highway 28, Stumphouse is an abandoned railroad tunnel that was supposed to connect Charleston to Midwestern cities by rail. Lack of funding and the Civil War ended construction at the site.

Today the 17-feet-wide by 25-feet-high structure is a part of the local park system. The temperature in Stumphouse Tunnel is about 50 degrees year-round, which makes it a great place to visit and cool off during the hot and muggy summer months. In the past, the tunnel’s cool temperature also has made it a good place to produce cheese. In 1951, Clemson University cured the South’s first blue cheese at the site.

Stumphouse Tunnel park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See www.oconeecountry.com/stumphouse.html for more information.