West Virginia February 17, 2021
Nicknamed “Bloody Mingo,” The Dingess Tunnel In West Virginia Has A Shameful, Tragic History
West Virginia is brimming with goodness and beauty, but she also hides her share of shameful, dark secrets… including the terrible events that took place in decades past near the Dingess Tunnel in Mingo County.
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Tucked away in the remote mountains of southwestern West Virginia in Mingo County is the small community of Dingess.
It's so remote, in fact, that one of the only ways to reach it is through a mile-long, single lane tunnel.
Check before you enter to make sure you don't see any headlights coming toward you, because you don't want to meet another car somewhere in the middle of that long, narrow stretch of brick!
Dingess has a history dating back to the pioneer days, when it was named after pioneer settler William Anderson Dingess. But it also has coal and railroad history, too... and what history it is.
In days past, Dingess earned the reputation for being one of the most lawless spots in the land. Rumor has it that it wasn't uncommon for this small community to have a killing once a month.
From 1900 to 1972, at least 17 lawmen were killed in the area's Twelve Pole Creek region - shot to death while attempting to keep order.
And to make this lawlessness doubly tragic, much of it was racially motivated. The secluded community was emphatic about not welcoming outsiders who came to work at the mine or the railroad.
According to the tales, African Americans and Chinese immigrants suffered the most, as they would often face hostile locals waiting at either end of the tunnel with guns, ready to shoot anyone who looked different than the homogenous local population. Or these outlaws would ambush trains and do the same with any "outsiders" among the passengers.
These crimes and more (including a train collision or two) still haunt the area and earned the tunnel its terrible nickname: "Bloody Mingo." If you ever head to Dingess to experience the tunnel for yourself, be ready for a thrill ride as you squeeze narrowly through this tunnel by car, but also be prepared for the weight of the events that happened here.
Have you driven through the Dingess Tunnel? Did you know the rumors and stories associated with its past? To learn more or get directions to the tunnel, visit the
Tug Valley Area Convention & Visitors Bureau website.
Dingess isn’t the only West Virginia tunnel with a less than respectable history. Here’s another:
Flinderation Tunnel, a haunted spot with a dark history. Address: Old N W Railroad Bed Rd, Dingess, WV 25671, USA