North Carolina Branch

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Mon Jan 2 22:12:08 EST 2006

In it's day, the Carnation plant was a MAJOR employer in Galax for many
years, and best of all, it shipped nearly 100% of its goods by rail, It was
also unusual in the fact that it's employees where 100% unionized, and the
jobs where considered very high paying at the time.

It was a major source of revenue for the NC Branch. I am unsure when it
closed. It will be covered in my photo series when I make my Galax trip, The
building is still recognizable.

I hope today, to go down to Ivanhoe and get some shots of the New Jersey
Zinc mine head frame, and some detail of the long abandoned National Carbide
plant, Which in its time was another major industry on the North Carolina
Branch, My grandfather was one of the top managers at the carbide plant,
this trip is totally dependant on the weather today, and it don't look

Last night as I was digging thru more and even more piles of info, I found
the National Carbide Quarry, where they dug up the raw materials used in the
manufacture of carbide.

The info I have is that it is spectacular looking! I will make a
preliminary exploration today funny thing is about it,is that it is right
beside the trail, but I have never seen it! According to the maps, it is no
more than 100 yards from the trail, between Ivanhoe Trestle and Ivanhoe.

I also need to clarify about the Gossan Mines, my post was vague about the
history of it. The iron ore they mined was high in sulfur content, they
shipped it to Pulaski, to heat the ore at the "Acid Plant", and extract
sulfuric acid from it, they then shipped the iron ore to a furnace in

The Grade up to the mine load out was so steep that they could only run
steam locomotives up it pilot first, due to the water exposing the firebox
if the tried to back up the grade, also they where limited on how many cars
they could bring down at a time, due to grade. Their also was a switch back
2/3s of the way up, the tail of the switchback, curved around the Huey Mine,
witch is nothing more than an immense hole in the ground. (early on their
where 3 separate mining entities up on iron ridge to start with, Bumbarger,
Huey, and the Great Outburst mine, they all came under the control of
General Chemical and was operated as one.

N&W used standard 70 ton hoppers, only loaded about 1/3 full, due to the
density of the iron ore, being so much more than coal, to load the cars to
the top, would easily break the backs of the cars.

Andy Jennings

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 02, 2006 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: North Carolina Branch

This past New Year's weekend I celebrated in Galax as the town kicked off
its centennial observance and celebration with their own "First Night!"
What an event!

Now to my point; while there, I went into a former church building that is
now a senior citizens center and craft store or sorts. I found a nice black
and white picture of the Galax Carnation plant! I didn't know there was
such a place there, especially such a large operation. The picture showed a
forty foot B&O "Time Saver" box car beside the building and a Virginian coal
hopper! Maybe this discovery is news to only me, but in case others aren't
aware of it, I post this message.

Aubrey Wiley
Lynchburg, Va.

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