Backwards Tunnel

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Backwards Tunnel
A wooded hillside with two stone tunnels. The one on the left carries a road; a stream flows through the one on the right at a lower level than the road.
View through south portals, 2011
Backwards Tunnel is located in Sussex County, New Jersey
Backwards Tunnel
Backwards Tunnel is located in New Jersey
Backwards Tunnel
Backwards Tunnel is located in the US
Backwards Tunnel
Location Cork Hill Road, 310 feet North of Passaic Avenue intersection, Ogdensburg, New Jersey
Coordinates 41°05′09″N 74°36′06″W / 41.0859°N 74.6017°W / 41.0859; -74.6017Coordinates: 41°05′09″N 74°36′06″W / 41.0859°N 74.6017°W / 41.0859; -74.6017
Area 0.6 acres (0.24 ha)
Built 1871
Architect Arnold, Justin; Mr. Simpson
Architectural style Double Stone Arch
NRHP reference # 05001483[1]
NJRHP # 4305[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 28, 2005
Designated NJRHP September 12, 2005

Backwards Tunnel, also known as the Ogdensburg Railroad Arch, is located in Ogdensburg, Sussex County, New Jersey, United States. The tunnel was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 28, 2005.[3]


The tunnel was built in 1871 by the New Jersey Midland Railway in order to cross the Wallkill Valley. New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway took over control of the tunnel in 1881 when the Midland Railway Line was merged into it. The tunnel was first referenced as the Backwards Tunnel in 1976 because it was thought that the tunnel should have been wider over the road than over the river. Ogdensburg declared the tunnel a borough historic site in 1991. A flood in 2000 which caused two nearby dams to burst damaged the tunnel. A book was published in 2009 about the history of the tunnel.[4]


The tunnel is a double stone arch design and is a 180 feet long. The one arch which Cork Hill Road runs through measures 16 feet wide and 15 feet tall. The other arch which the Wallkill River flows through measures 20 wide and 16 feet tall.[5] The rail line ran on top of the tunnel.

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  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places – Sussex County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Historic Preservation Office. January 10, 2010. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places Registration November 17, 2005
  4. ^ Hadowanetz, Wasco (2009). "Backwards" Tunnel. Wasco Hadowanetz. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-4357-4039-6. 
  5. ^ "Ogdensburg's 'backwards tunnel' isn't backwards at all". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved September 15, 2010.