Chilhowie, VA

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Sep 1 12:21:56 EDT 2004

It never occured to me that you might be related to the Greer's who had the herb house.  I know the building you referred to.  It was within sight of the Marion & Rye Valley Railway, just across the creek from it.  Now that creek is covered with a bridge and building.
Would you happen to have Mr. Greer's first name?
Also, about Chilhowie Lumber Company.  I am researching it.  Gary Price first discovered it years ago and we couldn't find out where it was, but I have heard that it ran up Sulphur Springs Road to where that intersects with Highway 107 and went up the mountain and switched back down the other side and went to the quarry at Midway.  All this told to me by a man who lives near the big "quarry hole" in Midway.  He claims to have several railroad spikes he has found on his property.  I can't yet verify this though.  If anyone out there thinks this is wrong, please speak up.  I have no proof as yet, but I think it may be possible.
Thanks all,
Ben Blevins

nw-mailing-list at wrote:

Hi Ben,

The Greer herb house (and yes it was the Greer spelling, one of my relatives) is still standing in Marion.  A brick building directly behind the former Ford dealership on Main Street.  I believe that you can still see a stone near the top of the building with the name Greer on it.

As for the grain dealer in Chilhowie, I know that this eventually became the Southern States Coop.  I had assumed that they continued to receive rail shipments there, but am wondering when it shut down and rail shipments were discontinued.

I found some cool photos of Bonham's orchards in the VT archives.  Even one of the owner with his new Studebaker that he had driven out into the field to inspect something or other.

Dr. J. Brent Greer

-------------- Original message -------------- 
In response to a question posted on the list a couple months ago by Andre Jackson about the industries and rail needs of Chilhowie, Virginia, I have done some research and found the following:

Chilhowie was served my three major local businesses. One of the largest for its day was the Bonham Apple Orchard, which had thousands of acres of apple trees. It was quite an event at harvest time, and the N&W shipped out tons of them every year. I don't know what kind of car would have been used though. Another business was operated by Fount Berry (predecessor to Berry Iron & Metal and Berry Home Center), and his business was dealing with herbs, fur, and rabbits. Its my understanding that rabbits were shipped to the big cities by the thousands during the depression as a source of food. Mr. Berry's herb business was also partnered by a man name of Greer (or Greear) in Marion, and together they had one of the largest herb businesses in the U.S. The last major one I have found record of is the Rouse fuel and feed company (name may not be correct). Mr. Rouse had the grain silos at his business, and operated a feed sup ply for the area. All this feed was delivered b y rail. The feed
 would be mixed and delivered to the customers. He also dealt in grain, which also was received by rail and stored in one of the silos. This grain was hauled to the Riverside Mill and Wilkinson's Mill on the South Fork of the Holston river, as well as others I'm sure. He also dealt in coal and fuel oil, and eventually petroleum products as coal went out.

I have also found a Chilhowie Lumber Company, and it headed toward Saltville. More to come on this later...

Ben Blevins

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Subject: Chilhowie, VA
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2004 21:15:17 +0000

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