A collection of photographs and historical information produced by Ashe County Historical Society in 2011.



West Jefferson did not exist until local entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to run the tracks from Whitetop Mountain in Virginia to North Carolina. In 1914, the Virginia Carolina Railroad came to Ashe County. Virgin timber grew in the mountains, luring the Hassenger Lumber Company into the area. Small sawmills and lumbering operations were located “up every holler,” so the tracks were expanded into Elkland, known today as Todd. Until 1933, the train ran daily into the county, and communities such as Nella, Tuckerdale, Camrose, Bowie, Lansing, Warrensville, Berlin, and West Jefferson grew up along the tracks. The timber was gone by 1929, and when the Great Depression came, the Norfolk and Western Abingdon Line made the slow grinding haul up the mountain every week. During the 1950s and 1960s, the spectacular fall leaf displays made excursion trains popular for tourists. The last train ran in 1977, and the tracks in Ashe County were removed, leaving only a few vestiges to show the train was ever here. 128 pages. $21.99