Mining In Ellenville: The Old Spanish Tunnel

The Old Spanish Tunnel, also known as the Sun Ray Mine, is shrouded in folklore that goes back to the founding of the United States. The mysterious tunnel at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge was re-discovered in 1905. Local legend purports the cave was excavated by Ponce de Leon’s men during his famous search for the Fountain of Youth. Another common myth is it served as a lead mine supplying the Continental Army with Ammunition. Historical records indicate the tunnel was constructed during the Revolutionary War however engineers found the ore was to difficult to extract and subsequently abandoned the mine. Re-discovery of the tunnel led to the development of the Sun-Ray Water, a bottled water distributor which sold spring water and carbonated beverages until the early 1920s. Financial issues caused a halt in use of the spring until 1939, when it was re-marketed as Pure Rock Mineral Water. During World War II, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company used the spring as a base of operations. The tunnel is now abandoned. Intrepid modern day hikers report exploring about 500 feet of the main tunnel, located at the foot of High Point Mountain. The main tunnel terminates in a spring but has an unexplored section which curves upward into the mountain.

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