1891 Perspective Map of Roanoke City, Showing Rorer Iron Company's Narrow Gauge Railroad

Riding the Narrow Gauge Rails of Rorer Iron Company

In the heyday of Roanoke’s Magic City Era (1890s), businessman Ferdinand Rorer operated one of the region’s many iron mines. Located on the south side of Roanoke Mountain, the Rorer Mines were said to produce some of the area’s better ores. To get his product to market, Rorer constructed a narrow gauge railroad which ran in the direction of today’s Franklin Road corridor, in the direction of the Roanoke River. A steel bridge was erected to cross the River just below the heights of Wasena. In this same area, there would eventually be a street by his name (Ferdinand Ave).

The narrow-gauge rails formed a wide, sweeping arc in this southwest portion of the new city, and met with the Norfolk and Western line at approximately the area where Hurt Park Elementary School is situated.

Links Related to Rorer Iron Mines & Narrow Gauge Railroad

Property Map 1: Mines near Roanoke Mountain
Source: Radford Univ. Archives

Property Map 2: Plan for Rorer Terminal Tract
Source: Radford Univ. Archives

Blog: John Carlin’s Virginia;Of Giant Holes and Iron Mines” (11/15/2011)
Source: John Carlin, Author

Newspaper: The Roanoke Times (10/9/1890); “Wanted: Ten Carpenters
Source: Library of Virginia

Newspaper: The Roanoke Daily Times (11/26/1889); “The Rorer Mine
Source: Library of Virginia

Newspaper: The Roanoke Times (6/7/1890); “Rorer Mining Company
Source: Library of Virginia

Property Map 3: Site of Rorer Iron Mines Today
Source: Google Maps

 

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