Post Content

Wilkes Street Tunnel Added to Online ‘Atlas Obscura’

Any Alexandrian who has gone up and down the waterfront has passed, or even walked through, the Wilkes Street Tunnel.

The tunnel’s ties to the area’s industrial history were recently documented in the online local history repository Atlas Obscura.

“At the corner of Wilkes Street and Royal Street is the entrance to a former railroad tunnel that belonged to Orange & Alexandria Railroad completed in 1856,” contributor blimpcaptain wrote. “It was used in both the Civil War and World War I as a major connector between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia.”

The train tracks were removed in 1975 and underwent a refurbishment in 2007-2008 to become a pedestrian passage.

“The most intriguing thing about the tunnel is its design and appearance,” blimpcaptain wrote. “The long entrance path is on a downward slope that slices right down the middle of Wilkes Street, which forms an upward slope that brackets the tunnel on either side, creating a neat optical effect.”

Blimpcaptain also notes that the tunnel could be haunted, but doesn’t go into further detail. An Alexandria Gazette article from 1909, quoted by Old Town Crier in a 2015 article on local hauntings, said that roughly 44 years before the article — so 1865 — there was a murder that could be the cause of the “cold spots” reported in the tunnel.

The murder was committed between five and six o’clock on a bright summer evening. The party or parties who committed the crime were never identified. The victim wore new clothes, but there is every reason to suppose he had enlisted in order to procure several hundred dollars bounty. He had been lured into the tunnel, where he was murdered and robbed. A short time before this murder some fiends who had murdered a man placed his dead body upon the track at the western end of the tunnel. The head of the corpse had been placed on the rail and a passing train crushed it.

Atlas Obscura is an online magazine with community-written posts about obscure bits of local history, specializing in hidden or mysterious locales.

Image via Wilkes Street Tunnel

Recent Stories

Schedule a walk-through of the luxury townhome community at Darden Towns in the heart of Del Ray.

With the City of Alexandria returning to regulating on-street retail and restaurant uses, including adding a price tag for the benefit, the City Council is also scheduled to review a…

It’s been a rough week for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and to top things off: someone hit a Metro work vehicle in the Braddock neighborhood this afternoon. The…

The City of Alexandria said a survey collecting feedback on the new expanded King Street pedestrian zone showed overwhelmingly positive. After the 100 block of King Street was permanently converted…

Looking for a more convenient way to work out?

On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.

We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Think BIG! About the Future of Movement

Join the City of Alexandria and Arlington County’s Initiative to Rethink Energy at our first ever electric vehicle (EV) and sustainable technologies showcase! Get inspired by seeing a variety of electric cars, scooters, bikes, motorcycles, police cars, buses, trucks and

Between Home and the Front: Book Talk and Signing

Join the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum on Zoom or in person at the museum for a special book talk with the curators behind Between Home and the Front: Civil War Letters of the Walters Family. A book signing will be

×

Subscribe to our mailing list