Davis-Murdoch Stone Company

Coming Up Empty

I wondered if there had been any narrow gauge industrial railroads associated with the old soapstone operations.

There are scant few published resources on the history of the soapstone industry in Virginia. Only a few of those make any mention of associated rail operations. Paul Saunder’s book Heartbeats of Nelson includes an interview with Robert Harlow, who was hired by Phoenix Stone Company to build dual gauge track at the site of a new mill under construction in 1925.
Heartbeats Of Nelson, Paul Saunders, 2007

Time for a road trip. I managed to find the remote crossroads where Phoenix Stone had been. I drove out there and found almost nothing. No quarries, no mill site, nothing that looked like an old railroad grade. Just thick woods, rusty mobile homes, and mean dogs.
USGS Arrington quad