Catching the Clinchfield as it wound its way northbound up the mountains, or southbound to the piedmont was an easy task when passenger service was common. The railroad, which ran from coalfields of Elkhorn City, Kentucky to the textile mills of upstate South Carolina, opened up the world to small mountain communities where travel in and out was difficult. Every small hamlet in Mitchell, Yancey, and McDowell Counties along the route of the Clinchfield had depots including Poplar, Peterson, Huntdale, Relief, Green Mountain, Forbes, Toecane, Galax, Black Mountain Junction, Boonford, Phillips, Penland, Spruce Pine, Altapass, Mount Mitchell/Switzerland, Linville Falls & Avery (closest to those communities on the Loops), Sevier, Hankins, and Marion. Most of those are gone today, but were well utilized in the glory days of rail transportation. One such station was the Mount Mitchell Station (right below Gillespie Gap) on the Clinchfield Railroad. When the Little Switzerland resort was established in 1910, this is where many early summer residents started their Little Switzerland adventure. Trains from the CC&O deposited passengers for the journey up the Etchoe Pass Road (near current 226A) to Lynn Gap, the entrance to Little Switzerland. The original name of the station was Mount Mitchell, but later changed to the Switzerland Station. It was manned during the summer months, and local residents Isaac Hollifield, Fred & Charlie Glenn, Charlie Dale, Fred Buchanan, Clay, Clyde and Bud Hollifield all drove the hacks, which charged 60 cents for adults, 30 cents for children and 60 cents per trunk to ride to the resort. The original wood station (shown in the above picture) burned and was replaced by a brick one (pictured below), which was abandoned in the early 1950s when the Clinchfield Railroad ended all passenger service.
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