augusta free press news

Re-discover a unique element of area history: The Blue Ridge Tunnel

staunton2editsIn one of the greatest engineering feats of his time, Claudius Crozet led the completion of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Tunnel in 1858.  

Two centuries later, the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark still proudly stands, but the stories and lives of those who built it are the true lasting triumph.  Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Hunger poured into America resolute for something to call their own.  They would persevere through life in overcrowded shanties and years of blasting through rock to see the tunnel to completion.

Prolific author Mary E. Lyons, who Bookworks in Staunton will host for a book signing and conversation on Saturday from 1-3 p.m., follows three Irish families in their struggle to build Crozet’s famed tunnel and their American dream.

Lyons is the author of nineteen books published by Scribner, Atheneum, Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin and Oxford University Press. Born and raised in the American South, she holds dual Irish-U.S. citizenship, thanks to her Irish grandfather, Patrick Lyons. A native of County Donegal, Patrick was born in 1869, immigrated in 1884 and settled in Atlanta, Georgia, around 1900. Mary Lyons lives in Charlottesville with her husband, Paul.

Call Bookworks at (540) 887-0007, or visit the shop at 101 W. Beverley Street in historic downtown Staunton, with any questions.