The Keyhole

Visit the Keyhole and discover one of Ijams’ and the Urban Wilderness’s most unique and intriguing spots!

Located off the Imerys Trail at the Ijams Quarries, the Keyhole is a man-made entrance underneath a rock bridge, built in the late 1920s, enabling workers and their equipment to reach the other side of the quarry easily. Two former derrick (crane) platforms can be seen up above at either end of the rock bridge. Views from above show how nature has steadily reclaimed the land.

Passing through the Keyhole reveals stepped walls known by the locals as God’s Chair!

The Keyhole is used as an eerie spot to tell the tale of the Bell Witch during October Haunts’ Lantern Tours.

 

Quick History: Historically, the quarry was originally known as the John M. Ross Quarry and operated by the Knoxville Marble Company beginning in the early 1900s. The operation involved drilling marble to form large blocks, prying the rocks from the rock face and lifting the blocks using derricks and cables. Rocks were transporting to the mill for cutting and polishing and later for heating in the kilns to form quicklime or calcium carbonate. Large marble blocks were transferred to railcars and moved to the nearbyTennessee Rivervia rail spurs.

Buy: Learn more about Ijams’ Quarries in the Images of America history book

Where to find it? From Mead’s Quarry: Take the Imerys Trail adjacent to the railroad tracks approx half a mile to the Ross Marble Quarry. A large sign welcomes you to a short walk to the rock bridge. Cross it and climb down the rocky trail to the Keyhole. Or turn right off Imerys Trail at Ross Marble Quarry for a gentler route down to the keyhole. IJM_Quarry_Map_WEB_101014_1288634589