East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicle of an On30 quarry railroad

A Likely Candidate


As it happens, there is a unique and commercially viable stripe of soapstone deposits running right along the western Piedmont of central Virginia in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.



MineralMap_DMR
Virginia Minerals newsletter, April 1961

One of only a few places in the world where the quality of the stone is high enough for architectural and dimensional applications.

Compatible Industry

The idea of a complementary industry to the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia had crossed H. Reid's mind.

HReidQuote
H. Reid - An Upcountry Romance

This quote from an old article that appeared in Steam Locomotives and Railroad Tradition magazine depicts quarry and mineral operations as being a good “fit” for the overall setting.

Looking for Inspiration

My autumn road trip routes take me up narrow creek valleys and through rolling countryside.

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Wouldn’t it be cool if there had been an old, isolated industry around here that complemented the scale and nature of the scene, used old equipment, looked hand hewn and overgrown ...

Autumn in the Foothills

Autumn is my favorite season for driving the backroads of Nelson County.

051104_106-WCA

My road trips have evolved from mad dashes trying to see as much as possible to focused trips to one particular spot in order to spend enough time there to really "see" it. My favorite places tend to be near railroads or abandoned grades. When I come upon a particularly modelgenic scene, I speculate on the possiblity of the narrow country road being built on an old narrow gauge railroad grade.