Gunnison Tunnel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gunnison Tunnel
Gunnison Tunnel is located in Colorado
Gunnison Tunnel
Location Montrose County, Colorado, USA
Nearest city Montrose, Colorado
Coordinates 38°29′36″N 107°43′17″W / 38.49333°N 107.72139°W / 38.49333; -107.72139Coordinates: 38°29′36″N 107°43′17″W / 38.49333°N 107.72139°W / 38.49333; -107.72139
NRHP Reference # 79000616
Added to NRHP 1979-07-22

The Gunnison Tunnel is a 5.8 mile (9.3 km) irrigation tunnel constructed between 1905 and 1909[1] by the Bureau of Reclamation.[2] At the time of its completion, it was the longest irrigation tunnel in the world. The tunnel diverts water from the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the arid Uncompahgre Valley around Montrose, Colorado.

The idea for a tunnel is credited to Frank Lauzon, a miner and prospector.[3] By the early 1890s he was farming in Montrose. Popular lore is that idea came to him in a dream that the waters of the Gunnison River should be brought to the valley.[3]

As construction was undertaken, two advances in technology made work safer and easier. Jackhammers fed by a compressor replaced hand-turned drill bits to set holes for blasting charges. Dynamite replaced black powder for blasting. By 1906 shifts of workers up to 30 at a time worked in the tunnel.[3]

The tunnel opened in 1909 to much fanfare with a dedication ceremony attended by President William Howard Taft.

In 1972, the tunnel was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Page, Arthur W. (August 1907). "Running A River Through A Mountain: The Six-Mile Gunnison Tunnel". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XIV: 9322–9330. Retrieved 2009-07-10.  Includes construction photos.
  2. ^ Project History - Uncompahgre Project.
  3. ^ a b c "East Portal & the Gunnison Tunnel - Curecanti National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-15.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

Further reading[edit]

Bureau of Reclamation - Uncompahgre Project

"The Uncompahgre Valley and The Gunnison Tunnel," by Barton W. Marsh (1905).

Celebration on opening of the Gunnison Tunnel, 1909