Search billions of records on


A period of industrial growth for the county was helped by the railroad, especially Pulaski City. Some touted the town as "a future Pittsburgh". Anthracite coal was abundant in Pulaski County and mines in Parrott and Allisonia operated for more than 60 years. Iron ore and zinc deposits led to development of local industries that took advantage of the railroad and the New River.
Parrott Mine, located on Little Walkers Mountain, the most extensively operated mine in the county, opened 1902.
Altoona Mine, was located at the western end of Little Walkers Mountain nine miles northwest of Pulaski.
Belle Hampton Line.
Empire Mine, located thirteen miles west of New River on Little Walkers Mountain. Mr. D. G. LANGHORNE opened what is now known as Empire Mine Number one in 1914 and operated it as a Wagon Mine until 1918, at which time it was leased to the Virginia Anthracite Coal Corporation, which was subsequently reorganized into the Empire Anthracite Coal Corporation, production obtained by these companies never amounting to more than about 180 tons per day.
The Empire Anthracite Coal Company took possession by purchase from the Empire Anthracite Coal Corporation on March 16, 1923, and opened Number two mine and made substantial improvements in operating facilities and development, expending a substantial amount in such improvements and development, increasing the output tonnage capacity to approximately 600 tons per day.
Limonite iron of two types has been mined in the county. It occurs chiefly between Little Reed Island Creek and New River. The mines are:
Rich Kill, Reed Island and Underrack Line. Among the other mines in this territory are Farris Mine and Clark Bank. All of these mines were closed years ago.
The second type is believed to be derived from iron, which was leached from shales above the fault. The Clayton Line, located two miles south of Pulaski, and Peak Knob Line at the east end of Drapers Mountain, are both closed now.
Boone Furnace, an important iron furnace located in the southern end of the county, was built about 1876. The foundryman was Henry BOYD. The manager of the mines was Isaac Huff and the manager of the furnace was W. R. TIPTON. The furnace, closed about 1895, is still standing.
Ground was broken for the Pulaski Iron Furnace February 1887. On. February 12th 1888, the first cast of iron was made. The huge coke-fired furnace, on the present site of the Gem City Junk Yard, operated till the depression.
Dora Furnace was built in 1890 under the leadership of George L. CARTER and John W. ROBINSON, but was bought and became an integral part of the Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Company in 1899. The furnace was named for a daughter of George T MILLS who built the first fire in the furnace.
The Bertha Mineral Company, formerly called the Bertha Zinc Company, through a Mr. JONES of Rhode Island bought the first lease of mineral land from Robert Calfee and began the construction of the Bertha furnace in 1879. The furnace was opened on February 13, 1880 and the first lot of zinc was turned out (400 lbs.) February 19, 1880. The spelter from this furnace ranked with the best made anywhere in the world. The Bertha Zinc Works brought skilled zinc smelters from Wales to Pulaski County. The zinc supply ran out in the years just prior to World War I, and it was Pulaski's largest industry when it closed in 1910.
In the year 1880 the Bertha Mineral Facilities Company built a narrow gauge Steam Railroad known as the Altoona Railroad from Pulaski to a mine they had opened in the Merrimac Seam some distance from the location of the Empire Mines. The Altoona Railroad was used to transport coal to their furnace at Pulaski.

Return to Pulaski Co. VA Website