Ore Hill / Mount Vernon Springs
(milepost CF 109.2)
This is an unincorporated area in Chatham county. Ore Hill
was the name of a town and the station on the CF main line, but that
station was associated with a pre-Depression era spa about a mile away
named Mount Vernon Springs. The old Ore Hill name was changed to Mount
Vernon Springs and that name was listed in the
A&Y employee time table (ETT). I have found it's history
from a Chatham
county history page sponsored by the Chatham County Historical
Association. The Historical Association published a book, Chatham County 1771-1971,
that included the following excerpt from pages 199-200:
"The town of Ore Hill
was located at the place now named Mount Vernon Springs, on the
railroad and Old U. S. Highway 421 about 4 l /2 miles south of Siler
The town took its name from
the topographic feature beside which it was located. Iron ore from
this locality was used to make munitions during the American
Revolution. A small furnace was constructed
at Ore Hill in 1776 by John Wilcox and William England.
Ore from there was also transported to the Wilcox Iron Manufactory
on Deep River during the Revolution. The mines were again active
between 1861 and 1865 in the service of the Confederacy. At that time
Sapona Iron Company operated a furnace at Ore
Hill with a yield of around five tons of pig iron per day. The last
period of mining was between 1893 and 1903.
There was a post office at
Ore Hill by 1871, with A. R. Chapin as
postmaster. The C. F. & Y. V. Railway built a depot and water
tank there in 1884, the year service from
Sanford to Greensboro was initiated. ...
The Ore Hill Manufacturing
Co. was organized April , 17, 1900 to make and sell chairs. This
company was dissolved July 16, 1906. Excelsior was also made at this
plant. The town of Ore Hill was incorporated in 1907 and the act
repealed in 19 13. Population in 1910 was 94. The Ellis Brothers (M.I.,
V.E., and C.S.) operated a machine shop at Ore Hill. They invented the
"Ellis Portable Corn Mill" and were manufacturing it there
at a rate of two units per week in the yea r 1911.
The name of the post office
and of the locality was changed to Mount Vernon Springs on May 15,
1926 , much to the disapproval of some residents. Physical evidence of
this was the mounting of the name board from Ore Hill railway station
in the front yard of the residence of Mr. N. H. Heritage. There it
remained for many years in plain view from the highway."
The 1934 A&Y ETT #14 shows that passenger
trains #30 and #31 stopped at "Mt. Vernon Springs." Train #30
stopped at 1:45pm on the way to Sanford. Train #31 stopped at 2:37pm on
the way up to Mount Airy. In addition, train #62 an eastbound local
freight stopped once daily at 2:16pm. The photo below shows the station
sign was "Ore Hill." The name did not change in A&Y time
tables through 1949 (although it was freight only with westbound local
train #63 at 9:32am and eastbound local train #65 at 2:02pm that stopped
daily except Sunday and Monday). After the Southern took over in 1950,
nothing changed except the train numbers (now #81 and #83).
||The ICC valuation reports indicate that there
is a depot and I have a photo. In this photo you can see the
station sign that was later displayed by Mr. Heritage in protest
of the town's name change.
Unfortunately, I do not have dimensions and/or
drawings of this station. The time tables state this station is a water
stop and the valuation map indicates a 24' water tank, which might
be what I see to the left of the station in the background of this
An image from the ICC valuation maps gives a fair idea of how the track
and depot were laid out. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger detailed image.
There is a tool house, oil house, at least one section house, a chute
(for livestock?), and the depot.
A Southern Railway Shippers Guide from 1916 does not
have any record of an industry at Ore Hill using the A&Y for delivering and
receiving products by rail, however, the ICC valuation map lists Ore
Hill Mfg. Co. A Google
books search resulted in showing Volume 26 of the Bulletin of the
North Carolina Department of Agriculture (1905) which documents that
this company shipped "7,500 dozen double seat cane
chairs." According to the Chatham history web site
above, 500 gallons of water daily was shipped from the Springs to
customers by the railroad.
||spring mineral water / soda pop
||Mt. Vernon Springs (?)
||Cheek, C. C.
||Culbertson, D. S.
||Dorsett, W. F.
|blacksmith & repair shop
||C. M. Hardin
||Lane and Hardin
||Ore Hill Hotel
||F. W. Dorsett, prop.
|druggist and physician
||Dr. O.B. Stroud
||J. J.White & Son
Portable Corn Mill"
||Ellis Bros. Machine Shop
double seat cane chairs,
Ore Hill Mfg. Co.
Odds and Ends
Thanks to Jim and Bev Williams for the reference to the Chatham
County Historical Association with the history of Ore Hill and Mt. Vernon
Springs. If you know anything more about this
area or the businesses and industries that might have used the railroad for shipping or
receiving products, please let me know.