Text from Alleghany County Virginia, Exposition Number, 1907

Alleghany County
A Brief Statement of Conditions of Public Roads in Alleghany County
Water Power
Water Cress
Iron Ore
Limestone and Other Mineral Resources
Cement Rock
Covington, Alleghany County, VA.
Educational Advantages
Transporation Facilities
Covington Furnace
Extract Plant
The Tannery at Covington
Planing Mill
Machine Shops

Flour Mills
The Covington Roller Mill
The Alleghany Milling Company
The Alleghany Pin and Bracket Company
Brick Making
Pulp and Paper Mills

ALLEGHANY county, on the western border of Virginia, with a mean length of twenty-six miles, a mean breadth of twenty miles, and an area Of 431,737 acres, is the center of a rich agricultural and industrial district and combines with its many natural advantages of location and fertility of soil a vast territory of mineral wealth which alone would establish for it a position of importance. The county lies at the base of the Alleghany Mountains, from which it derives its name, and the mean altitude exceeds two thousand feet. Well watered by the headwaters of James River, the county is fertile and abounds in all the products of farm and field. Chief among the agricultural products are corn,-oats, and wheat, in addition to the dairy, orchard and garden products. Live stock raising forms an important industry, thousands of cattle finding pasture in the highlands, which abound in bluegrass. After a recent investigation of the subject of fruit culture in Alleghany County, Professor Alwood, formerly of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, gave it as his opinion that what is known as the Falling Springs Valley of the county produces a variety of Pippins which compare most favorably with the noted Albemarle variety. The cultivation of fruit is engaging the attention of residents throughout the county, and is proving a paying investment. For the farm and garden products a ready market is created by the manufacturing industries which cover the county. There has been an appreciable increase in the cultivation of cabbage and Irish potatoes, which grow to immense proportions and are of a specially rich flavor.

Seldom is found such pleasant blending of agricultural wealth and untold mineral deposits, nor can any locality excel Alleghany County in the excellence of bountiful water power which only awaits the command of genius and capital to utilize it to commercial advantage. The historian Martin recognized this when, in 1836, after a visit to this region, be stated: "The country abounds in all the products of the earth, and the mountains abound in iron, and present sufficient water power to force any quantity of machinery." Of special merit is the water power in Dunlap's Creek, a mile west of Covington, Jackson's River throughout its entire course through the county, and Smith's Creek, in the eastern extremity of the county.

In natural scenery the county abounds, the term "perfect sublimity" being employed by a noted writer in describing the passage of Jackson's River through White's Mountain, between Clifton Forge and Iron Gate.

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson, writing of "The Falls" said: "It is a water of James River where it is called Jackson's River, rising in the Warm Springs Mountain, and flowing into that valley. It falls over a rock two hundred feet into the valley below. The sheet of water is broken in its breadth by the rocks in one or two places, but not at all in its height. Between the sheet and the rock at the bottom you may walk across dry. This cataract will bear no comparison with that of Niagara as to the quantity of water composing it, the sheet being only twelve or fifteen feet wide above and somewhat more spread below; but it is half as high again, the latter being only one hundred and fifty-five feet, according to the measurement made by M. Vaudriul, Governor of Canada, and one hundred and thirty according to a more recent account." Equidistant between Covington and Hot Springs on the branch line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway , is "The Natural Well," the aperture being about three feet in diameter, but several feet below the surface the well widens, being of sufficient size to float a boat thirty feet in length.

In its transportation facilities the- county is fortunate, all its points being on or within easy reach of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and its branches, and a ready outlet is thus afforded the various products of farm, mill and mine. The extension of this system into the Potts Creek territory, just completed, opens up hitherto untouched forests and iron ore beds, giving promise of a great increase in the manufacture of pig iron which forms an important industry throughout the county. The county is a magnificent point for the location of manufactories, as iron ore, pig iron, limestone and lumber are easily obtainable and it is but a short haul from the coal fields. The supply of iron ore, taken in connection with the coal supply near at hand, and the immense deposits of limestone distributed throughout the county, form a basis of operation of great importance, and it is natural to discern in these the assurance that industrial development and especially the manufacture of iron and steel will always form an important factor in this region's activity.top of document


During the last five years there has been considerable improvement in the roads of this county, due chiefly to the system under which they are now worked.

Prior to 1902, the roads were kept up by contract. The Board of Supervisors divided the roads into sections and let these out to the lowest bidder. This plan was not at all satisfactory. In 19--- a law was passed giving the Board of Supervisors power to employ a Road Superintendent for each magisterial district in the county, and furnishing him with a complete outfit, consisting of portable house, team, improved road machinery, men, etc, As a result of this the roads have materially improved, many changes have been made in the location of roads, thereby reducing the grade.

Several miles of macadamizing with stones, river gravel, etc., have been made from Covington to Clifton Forge, a distance of twelve miles. The road has been graded nicely and covered with three heavy coats of furnace slag, making one of the best roads in the State.

In the last few years ten good steel bridges have been constructed, thereby adding very materially to the safety and convenience of the traveling public.

There are in the county about three hundred and thirty miles of roads, upon which is spent annually about $12,000, the amount being raised by direct taxation.

The roads in Alleghany County compare favorably with those in any other county in the State. top of document


In natural water power the county of Alleghany is especially fortunate, and there. are scattered throughout the county numerous streams of 'Sufficient -volume and velocity to force large quantities of machinery. At several points, such as at Covington, Clifton Forge, and Rich Patch, this power is employed to some extent, but there remain untouched many excellent locations for the utilization of the water power, noticeably one mile west of Covington, on the main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, where Dunlap Creek has a fall of ten feet over a natural dam; a mile further westward on the same railroad, where are found large deposits of cement rock; a mile northeast of Covington, on the Hot Springs Branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio; two miles east of Covington, hard by undeveloped limestone deposits; on Roaring Run and Potts Creek, traversing undeveloped iron ore districts; and in the Falling Springs Valley, eight miles northeast of Covington, where are located the noted "Falls." top of document


The streams of Alleghany County are well adapted to the cultivation of water cress, and this industry has been carried on in the county in recent years with marked success. In the Falling Springs Valley, eight miles northeast of Covington, are located the cress beds of the Virginia Cress Company. The company has eight acres devoted to this industry and the output of a season is about fifteen hundred barrels, which are shipped to Northern and Eastern markets. top of document


The fact that eminent geologists and mining experts have stated that the region in which Alleghany County is situated is the prospective center of iron ore production in the Union, at once places the county in a high place in the industrial world.

At present the seat of iron production in Virginia is the Potts Valley District. A very large part of this district is in Alleghany County; the Potts Valley Railroad forming a junction with the main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway at Covington, the county seat of Alleghany. .

The great Potts Valley iron ore region is within one hundred miles of the Coking Coals of New River, Flat Top, and the Gauley River in Virginia and West Virginia. Some of the largest furnaces in Virginia are located in this district, such as the Longdale, Low Moor, Covington, Princess, and Iron Gate furnaces. Much of the ore used in the Victoria and Buena Vista furnacel and in the furnaces in the Valley of Virginia is supplied from the Potts Valley ore fields.

"That portion of the district lying northeast of New River and southwest of Jackson's River and between Craigs Creek and the crest of Peters Mountain, including the valley of Dunlaps Creek on the west, is now generally conceded to be the great iron ore producing region of the Virginias." By referring to a map of Virginia, it will be seen that these boundaries include the larger part of Alleghany County.

The ore in the Potts Valley District is Brown Hematite, and runs on an average of about fifty-one per cent. pure iron.

As Alleghany County lies almost entirely in this great ore region, a statement made concerning the Potts Valley District will, of course, apply to the county. The following statement was made by an able geologist and expert mining engineer: "It would be within the just limits of the facts given to estimate that in the Potts Valley, along Potts and Peters Mountains, their foot-hills and ridges, there are one hundred miles of outcrop of Brown Oriskany ore, to say nothing of the large quantities of Clinton ore of an average thickness of ten feet, that can be stripped and mined six hundred feet above water level, which, allowing two and one fourth tons to the cubic yard of ore, would yield 233,000,000 tons of ore, and taking three hundred days as a year, this would run one one hundred ton furnace four thousand years. It is no discredit to other iron-producing districts and states to express the opinion that the district of which the Potts Valley is the principal factor is to be the prospective center of the iron production of the Union."

For the manufacture of steel by the Basic process the ore of Potts, Valley are peculiarly adapted, as there is a plenteous supply of the best quality of Magnesia Limestone in the lower beds for lining purposes for that process.

The ore mined in the Potts Valley will be shipped to Covington over a branch line of the Chesapeake & Ohio. As has been said, the town of Covington is located at the junction of the Potts Valley Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio. The fact that the town is so located, and that it is the largest town having direct communication with the Potts Valley ore region, gives it a position of peculiar advantage in the industrial world and places it among the towns destined to grow rapidly in the near future.

The Potts Valley ore region is beginning to attract the attention of the entire industrial world, and in the next few years will be as well known for its iron production as some of the old iron manufacturing centers of today. The development of this region will give an opportunity for the use of the most modern machinery. The mines will be opened and operated by the Low Moor Iron Company.

In addition to the Potts Valley mines, there are many iron ore mines in Alleghany County, the most important being: Rumsey, Dolly Ann, Stack Mines, Rich Patch, and Low Moor. Around these mines small towns have grown, connected by a system of branch railroads, which is of great benefit to the county. If Alleghany County had nothing more than its iron ore resources, it would rank among the richest counties of Virginia.top of document


While Alleghany County is the leading iron ore county in Virginia, its other mineral resources are extensive and valuable. Following is a list of some of the most important 'minerals in the county: magnesia limestone, cement rock, marl, magnesia ore, kaolin, suitable for the manufacture of pottery; pyrite, a number of limestone formations, brick clays, slate and marble. Practically the whole of Alleghany County has in its geological formation a stratum of limestone. At certain points great deposits of limestone are found, conveniently located with reference to the six iron furnaces in the county. Some of the most valuable limestone quarries in the State of Virginia are in Alleghany County. From the Winlyme Quarry, near Low Moor, limestone is gotten for the several furnaces owned and operated by the Low Moor Iron Company of Virginia. The fact that the limestone deposits in Alleghany County are located in such close proximity to the iron ore, together with the nearness of both to the coal fields, makes the production of pig iron at a minimum cost possible. Recently a number of quarries have been opened for the purpose of furnishing ballast for railroads.

About eight miles north of Covington in what is known as the Falling Springs Valley are great deposits of marl. These beds of marl surround the "Falls" and have been formed by the action of the waters at that place. So far no use has been made of this marl, but its commercial value is apparent and only awaits development.top of document


Among the most valuable undeveloped resources of Alleghany County is the deposit of cement rock, three and one-half miles west of Covington, Virginia. These quarries were discovered in 1858 and are situated on Dunlap's Creek and about eight hundred yards from the main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

The natural formation of the quarries makes it possible to build kilns into which the quarried stone could be delivered at a minimum cost. The natural and existing advantages may be briefly stated as follows:

1. A thick stratum of cement rock covering one hundred acres.
2. Ample waterpower within three hundred feet of quarries.
3. Located about eight I hundred yards from railroad and on level with same.
4. Excellent location for cement plant and necessary equipment.
5. Proximity to large Cement markets.

This cement has been thoroughly tested in railroad construction work and has proved to be a most excellent grade. Stones put together with this cement gave away before the cement itself when certain old masonry was torn down.

The quarry was opened many years ago for the purpose of getting cement to be used on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway west of Covington, Virginia. At that time some of the most experienced railroad contractors tested the cement and without exception testified to its excellence. !t has been estimated that with a first-class equipment cement could be produced at a cost of about thirty-five cents per barrel. A successful railroad contractor, after using-the cement, said: "It can be relied upon for any class of work requiring cement of first quality."

Among the undeveloped resources of Alleghany County possibly the most promising is the cement deposit above mentioned.top of document


As Alleghany County is the greatest iron ore county in Virginia, it is but natural that in this county there should be a number of furnaces. There are six furnaces located at Covington, Low Moor, Iron Gate, and Longdale, respectively.

The furnace at Iron Gate has been in blast since 1893, and is owned and operated by the Alleghany Ore and Iron Company. The furnace is located on the James River branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, two miles cast of Clifton Forge, where the company has its head offices. The capacity of this furnace is seventy-five tons of foundry iron, daily, and the product is especially adapted for machinery castings and as cylinder iron. The ore used in the Iron Gate Furnace is obtained from the famous Oriskany mines in Craig County, and the limestone used is obtained from Alleghany County.

There are two furnaces at Longdale, one of them dating back to 1827, and known, as the Lucy Selina Furnace, being a charcoal furnace, and run as such until 1873, when the coal fields were opened up by the extension of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway into West Virginia. Since 1874 the Longdale Iron Company has been making coke pig iron, and after building a second furnace in 1880, increased their daily output to one hundred and twenty tons of pig iron, that being the present joint capacity of the two furnaces.

The Low Moor Iron Company operates three furnaces in Alleghany County, and some of the most important ore mines. This company controls forty thousand acres of ore lands in Virginia, and two thousand acres in West Virginia. In their furnaces at Low Moor the best quality of pig iron is produced. These furnaces were built in 1881, and are very conveniently located, so far as the ore and limestone supply is concerned, being on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, and the central point of the system of branch lines of railroad built by the company. The other furnace operated by the Low Moor Iron Company is at Covington, and has been in blast since 1891, having a capacity of one hundred and ten torts of foundry iron, daily. A more extensive account of the furnace located in Covington is given elsewhere in this book.top of document


Covington, the county seat and leading town of Alleghany County, is handsomely and eligibly situated on one of the greatest thoroughfares in Virginia, and is one of the most flourishing inland towns in the State. It commands the trade of Alleghany County and the adjoining county of Bath. Ten years ago the population of Covington did not exceed one thousand; today a conservative census places the number of inhabitants at five thousand. In industrial and commercial activity Covington takes rank with cities twice its size, and the recent development in the production and manufacture of iron ore is an earnest of still greater increase along these lines. The capital invested in manufacturing plants at Covington alone exceed $2,050,000, these figures not including various plants within a radius of two miles of Covington, which would increase the estimate by $50,000. Two national banks, with a capitalization of $160,000, have deposits aggregating $1,000,000. The bonded indebtedness of Covington is $80,000, the proceeds having gone to the extension of sewerage system, the laying of pavement, the purchase of a fine gravity system of water supply, and enlarging and maintaining its public school system, which is credited by the Department of Public instruction with being second to none in the State. Houses of worship are owned by Presbyterians, the Northern and Southern Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Catholics. Its hotel accommodations are ample for the requirements of Covington, as the most progressive city between Charleston and Charlottesville. Besides commanding the trade of a rich agricultural region, Covington boasts of the second largest wood pulp and paper plant in the United States; the largest extract plant in the world, having a daily capacity of five hundred barrels of moulding liquid; one of the largest steam tanneries in Virginia; an iron blast furnace with a capacity of one hundred and fifty tons of pig iron per day; foundry and machine shops affording employment to two hundred and sixty skilled workmen; two flouring mills; planing mills; sash and door factory; pin and bracket plant; ice factory; electric light plant; two steam brick plants, and a number of smaller industries in successful operation.

Covington is the junction point of the main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway with the Warm Springs Valley branch, at the terminus of which, twenty-five miles distant, are located the famous Virginia Hot Springs. Within a radius of twenty-five miles also are the noted Greebrier White Sulphur, Warm Sulphur, Sweet Chalybeate, Old Sweet, andHealing Springs.top of document


Educationally, Alleghany County has kept fully abreast of the progress made along other lines of development. A few years ago little attention was given to the public schools of the county. The teachers were inferior and poorly paid. The buildings were monuments of the lack of educational enterprise. At the present time a great change has been wrought in the minds of the people in the development of the public school system in the county. Five graded schools have been established within the last two years. This has necessitated the closing of several schools in the vicinity of each. Although there has been considerable opposition to this centralization, yet with thoroughly-equipped teachers, results have fully demonstrated to all that this is much the better plan. Great progress, has been made in the Covington Graded School. In 1891 the school consisted of sixty-three pupils and three- teachers, working independently of each other, with no graded course of study and a very poor, three-room, one-story building, with a yard used for a wagon lot; now the enrollment is nearly six hundred, with twelve teachers, a graded course of study, consisting of Primary, Grammar, and High School departments, the latter classed as Number One by the State Board of Education. The building is a large, two-story structure consisting of twelve rooms, well equipped with all the modern improvements.

The Alleghany Teachers' Association is composed of all the teachers a year; its their aim is to raise-the-standard of teaching in the county so high that the School Boards will not employ any other than first grade teachers at less than $45.00 per month. The Covington High School is one to which all the pupils in the county, after having completed the work in the primary and grammar grades in their home schools may attend without paying any tuition.

The graduates from this High School may enter without examination the University of Virginia, Washington and Lee University, Hampden-Sidney College, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Washington and Lee University, University of Virginia, and Hampden-Sydney College have given this school scholarships entitling the holder to free tuition.top of document


Few towns of its size have better railroad facilities than Covington, Virginia. It is situated on the main line of the great Chesapeake & Ohio Railway at the junctions of this line with the Hot Springs Branch of the Potts Valley Railroad.

The yards contain fourteen and seven-tenths miles of trackage, yet it is impossible to handle, with ease, the immense amount of freight brought here each year. The books of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company show there are more than twenty-four thousand cars of freight handled annually, the total freight receipts being over $600,000. There are fourteen passenger trains in and out of Covington each day, all carrying mail. The annual sale of tickets is more than $50,000.

Within the last ten years the railroad business has tripled, making it necessary for the company to build new freight and passenger stations, the plans for which are now being prepared.top of document


The iron furnace at Covington is one of six, furnaces in Alleghany County, and was built in 1891 by the Covington Improvement Company, but was afterwards purchased and put into operation by the Low Moor Iron Company. This plant has a daily output of one hundred and ten tons of pig iron. The iron made in this furnace is known as "Foundry Iron" and is used in the manufacture of fine machinery, and utensils.

The raw materials used are obtained almost exclusively from Alleghany County, some of the ore being obtained from the Dolly Ann Mines and the limestone from the quarry near Low Moor. The proximity of the raw material to the furnace at Covington makes it possible to produce pig iron at almost a minimum cost. The furnace at Covington is the nearest furnace to the great Potts Valley ore region, and the ore from the Potts Valley mines will be used in this furnace just as soon as the railroad entering that district is completed. From the Covington furnace iron has been shipped far and near, and some of the largest and best known manufacturers of machinery in the United States use very extensively the product of the Covington plant A large part of the iron manufactured in this furnace is consumed by local industries, the Covington Machine Company using hundreds of tons of pig iron a year. In connection with the furnace there are a number of coke ovens kept in constant operation. Recently the Covington furnace has been enlarged and repaired, and is today one of the most important industries of the county. It has been stated that when the Potts Valley mines are put into operation, the furnace now at Covington will be but one of several located at that place.top of document


The most recent addition to the industries of Covington is a plant operated by the Robson Process Company, and known as an Extract Plant. This industry is located just across the Jackson's River from the pulp and paper mills of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, and is built for the utilization of the, otherwise, waste products of those mills. In the manufacture of pulp from wood the Sulphite Liquor used in the process is afterwards lost. Within the last three years a process whereby the waste Sulpfite Liquor is converted into a valuable product has been discovered. The waste liquor from the pulp mill is piped across the river to the Extract Plant; where it is converted into what is known as "Glutrin," which is used as a binder in making sand cores in foundries, as a disinfectant, and as a briquetting agent, for fine coal and iron pyrites.  This plant is a unique industry, and the one located at Covington is the largest of the kind in the world. The structure and equipment of the Extract Plant is one of the most improved kind. The building is constructed of reinforced concrete, the expanded metal system being used. When the plant is running full capacity, five thousand barrels of Sulphite Liquor will be converted into five hundred barrels of Glutrin per day. '

This industry will not only benefit the town and country as a business institution, but will use the waste product of the pulp mill, which was formerly turned into the river, and thereby cleanse the water.top of document


The town of Covington boasts of having the largest steam tannery in the State of Virginia. This tannery is one of several operated in the State by The Deford Company. The tannery was one of the town's first large industries and from the day it was started has been' in constant operation, a period of fifteen years.

The plant covers seventeen acres and is located near the Jackson's River, and on a belt line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, thus having the means of getting rid of all waste products, and excellent transportation facilities for its leather. an enormous stock of bark, and in the Covington tannery there are storage sheds with an aggregate capacity of ten to fifteen thousand cords of bark. Much of this bark is obtained from Alleghany County, and the building of the Potts Valley Railroad, which will soon be completed, will open up a country rich in bark, as well as in iron ore. In this tannery is made the finest grade, of leather, such as belting leather, and scoured oak sole leather. The plant has a daily capacity of three hundred heavy whole hides.

This industry gives employment to one hundred and twenty men, many of them having been associated with the tannery since it started operation in 1892. Recently The Deford Company has enlarged the plant at Covington, building a large addition and installing new equipment. No other Covington industry has been so much benefit to the people living in the county. The large market this institution has established for bark has done much to increase the yearly income of the farmer and land owner all through Alleghany County. It also uses the local supply of raw hides, thus creating a local market for two very important products.top of document


For the past fifteen years Covington has been one of the best lumber markets in Virginia. Throughout Alleghany County a great deal of building and other construction work requiring wood has created a large demand for dressed lumber.

The planing mill owned and operated by E. M. Nettleton & Company, at Covington, is equipped with, every kind of improved machinery and manufactures various parts for buildings. Stored in the lumber yards surrounding the mill are huge piles of choice wood, from which is made every part of frame buildings. This plant produces turned posts, wood trimmings, mouldings, scroll-work, doors, window-frames and blinds, besides making a specialty of high-grade cabinet work. The location of the mill and lumber yards, a few feet from the main line of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, affords excellent shipping advantages. The market created by the planing mill at Covington has largely increased the development of the lumber resources which Alleghany County boasts.top of document


The machine shops at Covington, owned and operated by the Covington Machine Company, form an industry with a history in which the entire citizenship takes pride. The shops started in 1892, and from then down to the present time noticeable progress has been made in every respect, until today the plant stands as the largest machine shops and foundry on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway between Newport News and Huntington.

In the years of business depression and when other industries suspended operation, these shops were kept steadily running. The plant consists of machine shops and foundry. The original buildings as erect -for ten -years when both shops and foundry were enlarged and additional equipment installed to handle the increasing business. The further increase in the company's business during the last two years has necessitated enlargement of the plant, so that the shops and foundry are now twice their original size. The principal work done in the shops and foundry was, until recently, work for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway and manufacturing castings for furnaces, collieries, railroad carwheels and other smaller parts of machinery.

For the past three years the attention of the plant has been directed to the manufacture of a patent coke extractor, which is regarded as the most valuable invention yet perfected in connection with the production and handling of coke. The original patent on the coke extractor was granted in 18gi to Thomas Smith, of the Thorncliff Iron Works, Sheffield, England, and the machine was introduced into the United States in 1896, at Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The patent rights of the invention now belong to the Covington Machine Company, and these coke extractors are now being produced in their shops at Covington, which have been enlarged for that purpose. As a labor-saving machine, as an efficient apparatus, and as an economical method for extracting coke from bee-hive ovens the machines have stood successfully the most rigid tests, and are now being installed and used in the Connellsville, Kanawha, New River, and Pocahontas coke fields. It is claimed that in a plant of four hundred coke ovens the use of the mechanical coke extractors as made by the Covington Machine Company would effect a saving of $126.00 per day as compared with the cost of operating the same number of ovens by hand. The company now has in hand orders for a large number of these machines, and so important and extensive has become this phase of their business that branch offices have been established in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Controlling such an exceptional invention, together with the plant's usual and former products, the Covington Machine Company is an industry of much importance and affords employment to about two hundred and fifty skilled workmen, and is now advertising for expert machinists and moulders, in addition to those already employed. In these shops and foundry have been produced not only machines after existing models, but inventions and improvements in machinery originating among the management and employees of the plant. A cut of the patent coke extractor mentioned above appears elsewhere in' this book.top of document


There are two large flour and grain mills in Covington-the Covington Roller Mill, and the mill of the Alleghany Milling Company. These two mills give an excellent market for the local production of wheat, corn, oats, and other grain.top of document


The Covington Roller Mill, owned and operated by McAllister & Bell, is one of the oldest mills in Virginia. This mill is run by water power, and the charter given for the construction of a dam across the Jackson's River at a point where the mill now stands, was issued in 1797. This mill was known as the Covington Mill prior to 1891, but improved roller machinery having been installed in that year, the mill has since been called "Covington Roller Mill." This mill manufactures four grades of flour, and produces all kinds of ground grain and feed. The daily capacity is one hundred and twenty-five barrels of flour, and five hundred bushels of ground feed. The mill has not only a local reputation, but at distant points has established an excellent trade on all of its products. While the Covington Roller Mill is the oldest industry in Covington, it is one of the most modern, so far as equipment is concerned.top of document


The Alleghany Milling Company has been operating a flour and grain mill in Covington for the last three years, having built a new plant for that purpose. The motive power used is what is known as Suction Gas Power, and the mill is a very efficient plant, producing eighty-five barrels of flour, and from four hundred to six hundred bushels of ground grain daily.

Three grades of flour are made, and all kinds of ground grain are produced in the mill of the Alleghany Milling Company. From the very start this company has found a ready market for all of its products, and the mill is run at all times at full capacity.top of document


The plant owned and operated by The Alleghany Pin and Bracket Company is one of the most important industries of Covington. In this factory all kinds of locust pins, used in installing electric lighting, telegraph and telephone systems, are manufactured. The scarcity of locust wood in many parts of the country, and the increasing demand for locust pins has resulted in a good market for the products of pin and bracket factories.

In the plant of the Alleghany Pin and Bracket Company, pins and brackets of all sizes are made. This company has received and filled orders from all parts of the United States, supplying pins and brackets to be used in installing the heavy electrical systems iii, connection with the great power plants at Niagara. The plant is equipped with the most modern electrical machinery and is run in connection with an ice factory and electric light plant.

The process of manufacturing pins is a very interesting one: the logs of locust wood are received at one end of the factory and come out at the other end cut into pins ready for use.

This plant has created a great demand for locust wood throughout Alleghany County and is, therefore, a very valuable industry, not only to the people of Covington, but to many of the farmers in other parts of the county.top of document


Located at Covington are two brick yards well equipped for utilizing the rich clay deposits which are found on the outskirts of the city, and constituting an industry which affords employment to many operatives and takes rank among the city's active industries.

The Covington Brick Company's plant has been in operation for the past fifteen years and has a daily capacity of twenty-five thousand brick. The clay used in their manufacture is obtained from deposits immediately surrounding the kilns. This clay is known as soft mud clay and is suitable for the manufacture of various kinds of brick, such as building, soft, and pavement brick.

The Alleghany Brick Company's plant was established in 1906 and is also well equipped with the most improved machinery. The clay used is secured from a large clay deposit directly across Jackson's River from the plant, and is conveyed thither by cable. The deposit is of an unusual size, being about twenty-five feet deep and covering many acres. The Alleghany Brick Company produces building and paving bricks, its capacity being 30,000 brick daily.

A ready market is found for the product of the two plants, as in addition to supplying the local demands, orders for the brick manufactured at Covington are received from other parts of Virginia and other states.top of document


Covington,. Virginia, boasts of having one of the largest manufacturing plants in the South. The pulp and paper mills owned and operated by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company form an industry that, taken alone, would establish the rank of Covington as an industrial town.

This plant was built during the years 1899 and 1900 and began operation early in the spring of the latter year. The construction of the buildings and the machinery used in the equipment are sufficient to give an idea of the enormous investment made by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company in establishing the mills at Covington.

In the pulp mill is made what is known as spruce sulphite fibre. The only wood used in the Covington mill is spruce pine, the wood being brought from the large forests of spruce in West Virginia owned by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company.

The capacity of the pulp mill is from one hundred and ninety to two hundred thousand pounds of pulp per day. , The material used in the manufacture of this daily output is one hundred and ninety cords of wood; thirty five thousand pounds of sulfur, fifteen thousand barrels of lime, and twenty thousand pounds bleaching powder, all of the pulp being bleached. Not all of the pulp manufactured in the Covington mill is used in the paper mill located at the same place, but with the exception of forty-five thousand pounds daily, is shipped to other paper mills.

The paper mill at Covington turns out an average of about eighty thousand pounds of finished paper per day. The plant consists of two Foundrinier paper machines, one hundred and twenty and one hundred and thirty-two inches wide, respectively. The product is principally magazine paper, although considerable book, lithograph, map, poster and parchment paper is made. There are five stacks of super calenders capable of handling the entire output if necessary. At present the Covington plant makes paper for such publications as Harper's Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, Collier's Weekly, Life, Judge, Tobacco Leaf, Leslie's Weekly, Review of Reviews, Pictorial Review, American Machinist, Power.

In the two mills about four hundred operatives, including thirty girls, are employed. The pulp and paper mills are operated by a central power plant, consisting of eight water-tube Edgemoor boilers. To run the mill one day two hundred and twenty-five tons of coal are consumed. In these mills the entire process of the manufacture of paper from wood may be seen. At one end of the mill the wood is cut into small pieces and after a process involving the use of the most complicated machinery and the care of many skilled operatives, emerges from the other end as high-grade magazine and book paper. These mills are located on Jackson's River, and this stream furnishes the enormous quantity of water used by the mills.top of document


Prior to November 12, 1906, the business men of Covington had met a number of times for the purpose of securing some particular object which might benefit the town. On that date it was decided to form a regular organization to be known as the Chamber of Commerce of Covington, Virginia. The purpose, of the organization is to protect and promote the interests of the town, and already much has been done along this line.

This book, giving some account of the resources and industries of Alleghany County, is issued by the-Chamber of Commerce of Covington, with the approval of the Board of Supervisors of Alleghany County, and the Town Council of Covington,

The following business men of Covington are officers of the Chamber of Commerce:

W. A. Rinehart, President; E. M. Nettleton, First Vice-President; J. J. Lear, Jr., Second Vice-President; Ira Drew, Secretary; R. J. Dickey, Treasurer.

Mr. Rinehart is a member of the firm of Rineriart, Dennis & Company, well-known railroad contractors. Mr. Rinehart is connected with many enterprises in Covington and is one of the most widely-known men in Virginia. Mr. E. M. Nettleton has for a number of years been identified with the business interests of Covington. He is a member of the firm of E. M. Nettleton & Company, the largest lumber dealers in Alleghany County. Mr. Nettleton is a member of the Board of Supervisors of the county. Mr. Ira Dew is proprietor of one of the largest department stores in Alleghany County. Mr. R. J. Dickey is a well-known real estate dealer in Covington.

The membership of the Chamber of Commerce is composed of some of the most progressive business men of Covington, and the organization is growing rapidly.top of document 
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