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Atlantic & Yadkin Railway

History &


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 City.

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 The town of Ore Hill was incorporated in 1907 and the act repealed in 19 13.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).

AY_station_icc_ore_hill_1918_01.jpg (82206 bytes) 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 photo.


Track Diagram

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.

bw_v27-28_ore_hill.jpg (186946 bytes)



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.


Goods Shipped

Company Name

spring water spring mineral water / soda pop Mt. Vernon Springs (?)
general merchant dry goods? Cheek, C. C.
blacksmith Culbertson, D. S.
grocer Dorsett, W. F.
blacksmith & repair shop C. M. Hardin
grist mill Lane and Hardin
Hotel Ore Hill Hotel F. W. Dorsett, prop.
druggist and physician Dr. O.B. Stroud
dry goods general merchandise J. J.White & Son
machine shop "Ellis Portable Corn Mill" Ellis Bros. Machine Shop


double seat cane chairs, excelsior

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.






This website is copyrighted 1998-2016 by David M. Bott.  Images appearing on this website may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law, donor restrictions, and other rights or policies. The Railroad Roman font used in the title was bought from Ben Coifman. Persons who contemplate copying and using font or images should obtain all necessary permissions pertaining to use. Authorization to use images credited to the North Carolina Collection, University of N.C. Library at Chapel Hill should be sought from the Collection at CB#3934, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890. Telephone 919-962-7992. Images credited to the North Carolina State Library Photo Archives are considered in the public domain.  Images credited to others or unknown are subject to copyright restrictions and permission for use should be obtained.

This page  last edited Thursday, October 11, 2018