Days Gone By - stories from the past

Did you know that Foley, Alabama has a secret tunnel under the city – watch the [video] and see why [old photographs]

(You may have traveled through the picturesque city of Foley many times on your way to a Gulf  Coast vacation. Did you know the downtown area has a mysterious tunnel?)

The Foley Tunnel

John Snook owner of Gulf Telephone Company made a tunnel from the Magnolia Inn and his company across the street.  There were also more mysterious uses and reasons for the tunnel involving a love story, communists, and women sharpshooters. Check out the video below for the story behind the Foley Tunnel.

Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618.

Foley (Images of America) Paperback

Named for John B. Foley of Chicago

Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago. As Foley was traveling to President McKinley’s funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up between 40,000 acres and 50,000 acres of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company.

Foley at night (Photo of Foley is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley. Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City’s museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches.

The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the “Pine Knot Special.” It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place liter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.

Street Scene of Foley ca. 1935 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

street scene of Foley ca. 1935


Foley, Alabama postcard ca. 1915size (13)

Cutting and Threshing 40 Acres Soy Beans – Wm Goetz Farm – Foley, Ala ca. 1920size (14)

Rice and Velvet Beans – Murray’s Farm – Foley, Alabama ca. 1900size (15)

Cotton Gin, Grist Mill and Rice Huller in Foley, Alabama ca. 1900size (12)

Foley, Alabama 1928size (16)

Rex Stout mysteries 4 Pack Paperback

Alabama Footprints Confrontation is a collection of lost and forgotten stories that reveals why and how the confrontation between the Native American population and settlers developed into the Creek-Indian War as well as stories of the bravery and heroism of participants from both sides.

Some stores include:

  • Tecumseh Causes Earthquake
  • Terrified Settlers Abandon Farms
  • Survivor Stories From Fort Mims Massacre
  • Hillabee Massacre
  • Threat of Starvation Men Turn To Mutiny
  • Red Eagle After The War



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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Peggy Johnson

    Ben Johnson Charlotte Perry Henrichs

  2. Meredith Barclay Wade

    Andy Kennedy Barclay how cool!

    1. Andy Kennedy Barclay

      Did not know that! We should go!

  3. Charlotte Perry Henrichs

    Yes. It was built by John Snook who owned Gulf Telephone and was a real nut case. I don’t think you can visit it.

  4. Sherry Church Johnson

    Very interesting bit of history. Thanks for sharing Betty.

  5. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Snook He was a man with a wealth of knowledge, and had a understanding of what was happening in the world and the local community. He was a very soft spoken person and lover of cats as he taught me to be. It was a pleasure to have him as a customer and a friend.

  6. Larry Holmes

    It’s not a secret anymore

  7. Mike-Minnie Pope

    uh oh…the makings of a future sinkhole????

  8. Carol Haskell Headrick
    1. Stephanie Findlay Green

      I didn’t know that but now I need to know more!

  9. Donna Marie Stephens

    i’ve read this before. interesting

  10. Jane Scoggins

    My aunt lived in Foley when I was a child. She worked at Western Union n my uncle owned a business in town. I heard him tell about a tunnel but don’t recall the details. I was to excited about going to the beach.

  11. Lee Lindsay

    Been there, done that. Is the Magnolia Hotel still for sale?

  12. Ben White

    It hasn’t been a secret since I was a child I remember taking man hole covers up at the foley park and exploring the drains looking for the tunnels this was in 1985

  13. Meredith Nesbitt

    Yep!! Heard about this when we moved here. Pretty cool. Btw the Magnolia Hotel is reopened. You need to come see it!

  14. Tommy May

    Mary Jo Faulkner Steele, Tony May… Check this out.

    1. I was sitting in the driving rain in a soaked through rain coat at the Alabama-Auburn game when the Snake kept the ball and started running right at us on that famous run. Alabama quarterbacks can take the elements! Remember Bart Starr in the Ice Bowl? Dadgum, but y’all put out some quarterbacks down around Mobile!!! AJ—Coker—Snake! I’m sure there’s some I don’t know about. Sure do wish Alabama had one o’them Mobile-Foley quarterbacks now! It’s not asking too much to have at least ONE white boy on Bama’s team.

  15. Lynn Eckberg

    I had no idea, I heard stories. But never knew.

  16. Sherry Pitts

    Vell Gallegly Faw, did you know about this?

    1. Vell Gallegly Faw

      Yes I read about it about a year or so ago and then they had it on the new’s.I know where it is. Interesting story

  17. Bill Bradley

    Yep. Guy was nuts. I went to high school there. He also had a contingent of female body guards trained in martial arts. Oh and when I was a kid he used to burn crosses in the park across the street.

  18. Very interesting. I enjoyed this very much.

  19. I love the different things I have read here.

  20. Jeff Burkett
  21. I know all about it. Installed the doors in it when it was under construction!!

  22. Brooke McKeehan Shelnutt

    Josh ShelnuttDavid McKeehanAlan Debbie Shelnutt

  23. I did not know about this and I was born and raised in Foley. My sister forwarded this to me. It was quite interesting. Thanks Carolyn!

  24. Very interesting…Foley AL has some of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever seen.

  25. Can we go through the tunnel now, as of March 2017 ????

  26. Can we go through tunnel now, as of march 2017 ?

  27. John Coheley

    Sandra Schaff Wynn….

  28. Jaime Cole

    Patty Moscato Faircloth are y’all going near here???

  29. Sherri Clifton Richards

    We should have stopped off there.

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