The Town of Chilhowie is located at exit 35 on I-81. Chilhowie, a Cherokee word meaning “valley of many deer,” was adopted as the town’s name when the town incorporated in 1913. During its stagecoach days the community was known simply as Town House. After the railroad was built in 1856 the town was referred to as Greever’s Switch, a reference to the name of the first Station Master and to the mechanical switch that allowed freight cars to be moved to a side track for loading and unloading of freight.
The first industry in Chilhowie is credited to Minter Jackson. In 1879 he built the Pottery Shop. His business was the forerunner to the Virginia Paving and Sewer Pipe Company, built by George Palmer in 1890. These small businesses paved the way for various manufacturing and agricultural enterprises which have contributed to the town’s growth over the years. Pottery, brick, lumber, textile, fertilizer, equipment and furniture manufacturing companies have all operated successfully in Chilhowie.
The clay used in Chilhowie Brick, a brand of kiln-fired brick, was popular nearly one hundred years ago. The removal of the clay lowered and flattened the slope of the land immediately south of Old Stage Road. The bricks were extremely popular and they have even been found lining the streets of Paris, France.(Chilhowie, Virginia)