In 1899, construction on the Lincoln Street Tunnel, or "cut," began. It was part of Seaboard Air Line Railroad's plan to connect the rail terminal at Sidney Park with a passenger depot and diner at the corner of Lincoln and Gervais streets. From there, the line would cross the Congaree River to Cayce and beyond, linking Columbia to the greater Southeast region by rail and leading to significant industrial development in the city.
In 1983, Mayor Kirk Finlay, Jr. began a campaign to revitalize the area between Assembly Street and the Congaree River, paving the way for what Columbians now know as the Vista. In 1991, rail traffic was re-routed out of the Vista, allowing for the tracks to be removed, and the Lincoln Street Tunnel was closed off with gates.
Interest in the tunnel as a walking trail began soon after. In 1996, Columbia City Council began considering opening the tunnel as a pedestrian walkway; however, plans and funding never materialized. By 2007, the gated off tunnel was being used as carriage storage and considered for a horse park.
Under Mayor Stephen K. "Steve" Benjamin, the idea of converting the abandoned tunnel and rail bed came to life and, in 2012, the Lincoln Street Tunnel became the first phase of the Vista Greenway Project, a rails-to-trails walk and bike path connecting the Vista at Lady
Street to the - Elmwood Park neighborhood.
The Columbia Chamber's Leadership Columbia Class of 2017 undertook the task of beautifying this gateway to the Vista Greenway to honor the strength, unity and passion shown by the community during the 1000-year flood Of October, 2015.