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Smyth County, Virginia Regional Visitor Center 408 Whitetop Road, Chilhowie, VA, I-81, Exit 35

History of Chilhowie, VA


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)


History of Marion, VA


The Town of Marion is located at exits nos. 44, 45 & 47 on Interstate 81, and sits at an elevation of about 2,200 feet above mean sea level (2,178.460 feet at USGS marker along Main Street at the old National Bank Building), has grown from 27 acres in 1849 to its current size of 3.4 square miles or 2,176 acres, and a population of 6,349. The Town in addition to serving as the gateway to Hungry Mother State Park, with its annual Arts and Crafts Festival, the Jefferson National Forest, the headquarters of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, and the Appalachian Trail, is the home to historic Lincoln Theatre, one of the last three remaining Mayan revival theaters in America. Marion moves into the 21st Century with continued vigor and optimism.


Marion has so much history that makes it the town it is today. Have you every heard of William "Bill" Jones? As a local businessman during 1959 to 1962, he experimented with different flavors and created what is now the nationally successful soft drink "Mountain Dew" at Marion's Tip Bottling Company, which is now the home of Hungate Business Services. In 1964 he sold the soft drink "Mountain Dew" to Pepsico. Another local entrepreneur, Edward Wyatt, developed coal mining equipment which held the open-face mining record for several years during the 1980"s. (Marion, Virginia)


History of Saltville, VA


Saltville’s rich history is based on its natural and cultural resources. Millions of years ago, Saltville was a shallow inland salt-water sea. Massive quantities of salt settled to the bottom of the sea. As time passed, geological changes occurred resulting in continents separating, mountain ranges rising up, and other changing surface features. The salt that was deposited in the Saltville Valley formed veins of salt that run through the rock and form large salt caverns. Salt is the key natural resource that has shaped Saltville’s history.During the last Ice Age, 10-20 thousand years ago, the salt deposits in the Saltville Valley attracted animals such as Mastadons and Wooly Mammoths. Salt is a key element of animals’ and humans’ diets and the lake environment in Saltville was an ideal habitat for a wide range of mammals. Archeologists have found the remains of ice age animals and plants in the Saltville Valley – where the Saltville lake had been located.


Over time, well-established trails were created by the large number of animals that migrated in and out of the Saltville Valley. The trails offered easy corridors for humans to travel as they tracked herds of animals and looked for food. There is evidence of human occupation in the Saltville Valley from over 14,000 years ago. Clovis, from 10,000 years ago, has historically been the accepted date for earliest human arrival to North America. Research has shown that Saltville was home to “Clovis,” but was also home to Clovis’ ancestors. Points and arrowheads from these periods have been found in the Saltville area. There is also evidence that a large settlement, or village, existed in the Saltville valley during the Woodland Period, sometime between 1,500 BC and 1,500 AD. (Saltville, Virginia)

FREE VISITOR GUIDES: • 1-877-255-9928 • (276) 646-3306

Smyth County, Virginia Regional Visitor Center 408 Whitetop Road, Chilhowie, VA, I-81, Exit 35

Smyth County, VA

Atkins, Chilhowie, Marion, Saltville



1-877-255-9928 • (276) 646-3306


Smyth County



Visitor Center

408 Whitetop Rd,

Chilhowie, VA,

I-81, Exit 35