William Schmidt spent 32 years boring through a mountain. He was obsessed, but the question is why.
Born in Woonsocket, R.I., Schmidt was said to have come to the desert to preserve his fragile health. Published accounts claim that his three brothers and three sisters all died of tuberculosis.
According to his doctors, didn’t have long to live. He moved to the Mojave Desert in a bid to improve his health and started digging a tunnel in one of the mountains with the help of a rail car, dynamite and two burros.
He worked alone and funded his materials with by taking on some casual work in the area when necessary. He dug his tunnel one foot at a time for 38 whole years, managing to reach half a mile into the mountain before his death at the age of 82.
Schmidt dug with only a pick, hammer, hand-held drill–a sharpened pole several feet long–and dynamite. He would hammer the drill into the rock far enough to insert the dynamite, then blast.
An estimated 2,460 cubic yards of rock were removed, most of it on a narrow-gauge track and cart that Schmidt pushed by hand.
“All food, water and material had to be packed in during the years the tunnel was under construction,” columnist Pop Lofinck wrote 10 years after Schmidt’s death in the Rocketeer, a weekly paper published by the China Lake Naval Weapons Station. “No compressed air or gasoline motors. Think of all that work….”
Many locals and tourists believed Schmidt was actually mentally unstable. Others think he did it just for the fun of it, which also hints he could have been crazy.
However, some historians have a theory that the tunnel kept him going. According to them, The Burro believed that as long as he kept digging, he would keep living. If you’re thinking of starting a digging project in Sydney, check out dingo hire in Sydney for the best equipment.