Auburn Tunnel

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Auburn Tunnel
Location Auburn, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°36′48″N 76°06′56″W / 40.61333°N 76.11556°W / 40.61333; -76.11556Coordinates: 40°36′48″N 76°06′56″W / 40.61333°N 76.11556°W / 40.61333; -76.11556
Status open cut, abandoned
System Schuylkill Canal
Work begun 1818[1]
Opened 1821[1]
Closed 1857, converted to cut[2]
Owner Schuylkill Navigation Company
Length 450 feet (140 m)[2]
Highest elevation 471 feet (144 m)
above Delaware River, mid tide[3]
Tunnel clearance 22 feet (6.7 m)[1]
Width 15 feet (4.6 m)[1]

Auburn Tunnel was a 19th-century canal tunnel built for the Schuylkill Canal, near Auburn, Pennsylvania. Auburn Tunnel was the first transportation tunnel built in the United States.[4]

The tunnel was deliberately added to the canal to be a novelty, as the hill it was bored though could have easily been bypassed. The tunnel succeeded in becoming a major attraction, with people traveling over 97 miles (156 km)[3] upriver from Philadelphia just to see it. The tunnel was periodically shortened and in 1857 was daylighted to become just an open-cut.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Creighton, James E. (1920). "TUNNELS AND TUNNELING". The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge. Albany, New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corp. p. 157. 
  2. ^ a b "American Canal Society Canal Structure Inventory - Auburn Tunnel" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile of the Schuylkill Navigation". Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  4. ^ a b Historical Society of Schuylkill County (1910). Publications of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County. Volume 2 (1907-10). Historical Society of Schuylkill County. pp. 483–4.