Economics

The “Burleson” of “Burleson Hill”

The “Burleson” of “Burleson Hill”

  J.E. Burleson operated this mica house atop Burleson Hill, the location of the current Spruce Pine Town Cemetery. Burleson began opening mica mines in 1894 and ground mica beginning in the 1900s. He was the largest individual mica operator in the region. His...

The Little Boxes before the Big Boxes

The Little Boxes before the Big Boxes

Before the days of the “big box” chain stores, Spruce Pine had many “mom and pop” grocery stores that served the area. There were also many smaller stores in almost every community. There was even a branch of the Dixie Home Store on Lower Street for several years that...

Little Switzerland

Little Switzerland

This exotic European name was penned by Judge Heriot Clarkson of Charlotte who established this resort community near the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1910. The resemblance of the area to the mountains of Switzerland gave rise to the name. At an altitude of 3,500 feet above...

Railroad coming to Bakersville??

Railroad coming to Bakersville??

According to some local traditions, the railroad was to have come through Bakersville instead of Spruce Pine, but certain town leaders did not want that to happen. A variety of explanations has been suggested over the years; however, perhaps the truth lies in the...

Catching The Train

Catching The Train

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...

Building the “Scenic”

Building the “Scenic”

On November 16, 1933, the Blue Ridge Parkway project received approval from Congress. After much debate in Washington, the Virginia – North Carolina route won out, completely leaving out the state of Tennessee. Had the Tennessee route been included, the road would...

The Story of the Spruce Pine Depots

The Story of the Spruce Pine Depots

With all the excitement of the exterior renovation of the Spruce Pine Depot, we thought we would take a look back at the history behind the two depots that have existed in Spruce Pine. The South & Western Railroad, the forerunner of the Clinchfield Railroad,...

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