The Mount Airy & Eastern Railway, also known as the Virginia and North Carolina Railroad, nicknamed the “Dinky,” was a narrow gauge (36” inside track to track) short-line railroad that ran from Mount Airy, North Carolina, to Kibler Valley, Virginia, between 1899-1924.
The Dinky started as a logging railroad carrying logs and lumber from Kibler to the sawmill at the depot in Mount Airy. After a short time and due to demand, passenger, mail, and dry goods service opened the local stops along the way. For Dinky Stations, click on the map image below.
Passengers enjoyed Sunday excursions to White Sulphur Springs and Danube Church in Kibler Valley, where the railroad even took a circus to the banks of the Dan River. The Dinky weaved its way through the beautiful countryside following the Ararat River, Clark's Creek, Fall Creek and the Dan River, keeping close to water to fill its coal fired boiler.
At JEB Stuart birthplace, you can see a recreated 24' section with the original Dinky railroad track unearthed during a recent excavation 1/4 mile away and generously donated by the Brown Family. At left, and below the railbed, you can see what is believed to be the original wagon road from Mount Airy, North Carolina, to Taylorsville, Virginia (present day Stuart) that J.E.B. Stuart used.
When the railroad came through, it is believed they graded the roadbed. The railroad declined and went broke, possibly due to a catastrophic weather event in 1916, and unable to recover. It is believed when the railroad ceased operations in the mid-1920s, the tracks were pulled up, and the commissioner of the roads moved the highway from the wagon road to the lesser grade railroad bed. It remained here until the late 1930s when the newly formed VDOT straightened the road. All three transitions can be seen on the 1948 aerial map.
Around the bend, the Dinky crossed the current Ararat Highway. In the field below the JEB Stuart Grocery was the Pedigo Stop with a wooden station platform. The outline of the roadbed can still be seen in the 1948 aerial (see below). In the house lived Dr David Floyd Pedigo, grandfather of Porter Bondurant and Carrie Sue Culler, who did an interview discussing riding the Dinky as children. You can watch the interview video below.
Also living there was Joseph Reed Pedigo, brother to David, who was Postmaster for "The Hollow Post Office" located at the home from 1872-1916 when it moved to the top of the Hill at the intersection of the Hollow Road and Ararat Highway. The Dinky had a daily mail service to the Pedigo Station. Lewis Pedigo, the father of Dr. David and Joseph, the county surveyor, moved his family to “The Hollow” in 1853 after purchasing 400 acres of land next to the Stuarts. It is safe to say the Pedigos were friends with the Stuarts because
they signed as witnesses on legal documents for Mrs. Stuart upon Archibald's