Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

My Photo
Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Montgomery Bell Tunnel, Narrows of the Harpeth

Montgomery Bell Tunnel, Narrows of the Harpeth

In 1820, Montgomery Bell created an Engineering masterpiece that is recognized today as an engineering landmark and a national historic landmark. Slaves under Bell's direction excavated a 200 foot tunnel about 8 feet high and fifteen feet wide through a limestone bluff at a point on the river known as the "Narrows". It is here that the river makes a loop around a high limestone ridge before returning to within 200 feet of itself again. Bell knew that by diverting water through the tunnel, the weight of the falling water from the plank flume would cause the water wheels to revolve on their axles. As the axles, made of large poplar logs, turned the protuding pins of white oak driven near the end of the log called trip levers, would press down and then release a hammer lever. The hammer lever was a long log with a heavy piece of metal attached to its' end. The pounding motion converted the hot brittle pig ironbillets, which were held with tongs on top of a large anvil, into malleable iron bars and plates that were more manageable for blacksmiths to use in their forges. Each full revolution of the water wheel produced two heavy blows to the iron. Products of the forge were hauled by ox drawn wagons or pack mules through the Narrows Gap to markets in Nashville or Franklin or floated down the Harpeth and The Cumberland River to Clarksville where they could be shipped up or down the river by steamboat to other locations.

Montgomery Bell owned and operated Pattison Forge, which bears his mother's maiden name, from 1832-1854. Afterwards, James L. Bell ran the operation until it was closed during the 1860's. After the Civil War, the iron industry in Tennessee remained somewhat depressed, and the forge did not re-open. During the early 1880's the Narrows of the Harpeth was sold by the Bell descendants. In the years to follow, the tunnel furnished power to operate a saw mill, and later a gristmill, which was washed away during a flood in the mid 1890's.

Today, the site of Pattison Forge, located at the Narrows of the Narpeth, is a part of the Harpeth River state Park and is maintained by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The site is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The intake side is just down a wooden staircase from the small parking area. The view above was made by walking the 10 minute trail from the parking area.

Here is the Pattison Forge diagram:

Harpeth Narrows Mill diagram

Here is a closeup and an extreme closeup of the tunnel, taken at the same spot as above. In the extreme closeup, you can see a lady on the other side of the tunnel.

closeup view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel Extreme Closeup view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel

Here are two views of the inside of the tunnel taken from the other side, the intake side. The second photo looks odd because I used a long camera exposure to brighten the inside of the tunnel.

Alternate view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel Alternate view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel

Finally, the same tunnel from the most commonly pictured angle:
Alternate view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel Alternate view of Montgomery Bell Tunnel

100th post - 1042 hits


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for another excellent post. Keep rocking.

1:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home