Area near U.S. 52, State Route 93 has history

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 30, 2004

It depends on whom you ask, just what this area is called, that area around the old Highway 75 tunnel overlooking the State Route 93 and U.S. 52. Nixon Hill? Radio Hill? Haunted Tunnel?

"It's Nixon Hill," Ironton resident Ralph Falls said. He has lived on Nixon Hill for the last 9 years. "It's nice, and peaceful and quiet," Falls said. His grandparents had a house near there when he was growing up.

Falls said he could remember when Nixon Hill was a much busier place: when the way into and out of town went right through that tunnel.

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"When you came down off the hill you'd have to stop and say a little prayer before you went through it, because you didn't know if there was a car coming," Falls said.

According to the Lawrence County History Book published in 1990, the tunnel was closed to traffic in the late 50s when State Route 93 was constructed.

The tunnel was then filled in with dirt until the late 1980s when the Ironton Lions Club lead a move to have it excavated and to have a flight of stairs constructed to allow visitors to literally see the top of the hill. Each October the Lion's Club sponsors its annual "Haunted Tunnel" that brings visitors to the tunnel for a Halloween scare.

The hill is also home to the city's reservoir and is home to its only radio station: WIRO, hence its other moniker.