Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Day at Tunnel Mill

Amy and I had never attended a Civil War event but Historic Tunnel Mill, run by our friend Nathan Logsdon, was hosting one this past weekend. Our clothes are a bit early for that but he said that would not be a problem so we dressed out and stopped by for a few hours.

We had been to the site before and knew it was beautiful but it was even better buzzing with people.  There were demonstrations, we caught up with old friends, met some new ones, explored Tunnel Mill's various historic attractions, and strolled along the beautiful creek bank.

Historic Tunnel Mill is located on property owned by Boy Scouts of America.  It features the John Work House, a ca. 1811 historic home:

The house had fallen into extreme disrepair and been heavily vandalized when Logsdon struck a deal with them to be able to head up a non-profit effort to restore it and operate it as an interactive, hands on historic site.

Nathan Logsdon portraying the owner of Tunnel Mill during the Civil War. The event was based on a Confederate plot to compromise the mill, which was supplying the Union Army.

Vandals of various sorts continued to be a problem after the restoration began.  A rotating team of volunteers have ensured the the site is constantly manned and cooperation with Clark County Police finally seem to have curbed much of the problem.  Stephen Priddy has logged many hours in this effort, usually in a more modern security uniform:

What has resulted is a testament to what a coming together of people who care about seeing a project happen for the good of the broader community can accomplish.  Volunteer workers and craftsman have brought the house a long way toward reliving its 1811 glory. Shots of the best parts are being kept under wraps at the moment but here is one of my favorite photos I took at the 2011 Candlelight Tours of the staircase, festooned in garland and crowned with a wreath, lit only by a candle chandelier:

The feeling of standing there could have been lifted from a page of Dickens.  Later that evening, we got to (briefly and extremely carefully) experience a Christmas tree lit with small candles; a Victorian indulgence best left to the professionals!  In addition to restoring the structures already on the site, several 19th-early 20th Century log structures have been disassembled, transported to the property, and are in the process of being reassembled:

Nathan and his team of volunteers have also been working on replicating other sorts of period structures on the property.  Mine and Amy's personal favorite was the mid-19th Century soldiers hut. Outside:

And in:

Tested and 100% functional.

The ghost stories of local lore had taken over the identity of Tunnel Mill for years, but through the restoration efforts, the actual history is being rediscovered and made available to all who venture by.  Nathan had Amy and I pose this photo to recreate one such ghost story in an effort to let people know that there isn't anything to be afraid of

Only the world of the 19th Century to rediscover

Stop by and visit Historic Tunnel Mill- only 30 minutes from Louisville!


  1. Beautiful, Brian! You brought tears to my eyes!

  2. Nathan and crew have done a great job on this place! I'm sure once they have more visitors coming through, that will cut down on the vandalism.I have never understood why people would vandalize. It's such a stupid crime.