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Character of Industry

Diversified or Concentrated. The greater portion of the industry of Carroll County is located in the town of Galax. Galax has been known as one of the furniture towns of Virginia, this industry leading all other local groups by a large margin. It may be said that the industry is concentrated in the “lumber and allied products” group rather than diversified among several census groups. The “food and kindred products” group is usually the leader in the smaller Virginia towns and this group usually predominates also in the counties. The situation in Carroll County is quite different, for here we find the “food and kindred products” with a volume of business of only $254,700, while the “lumber and allied products” exceeds $3,500,000. There are practically as many concerns in the former group, but their volume of business is far below the leader as indicated by the figures above. There are six census groups represented in the county with a possibility of including the miscellaneous industries, under which two operations have been placed which are not strictly industries. Steam laundries were at one time considered as an industry, but the Census Bureau no longer considers them as such. For our purposes we shall consider the operations of the General Chemical Company and the Galax Laundry as unclassified in the “miscellaneous” group.

It is very evident that the greater portion of the manufactured product is not derived from raw materials secured from within the county. The flour mills are the most conspicuous example of industry utilizing raw materials found nearby, while the furniture plants are illustrative of manufacturing enterprises using raw materials shipped into the county from a distance. The furniture plants secure the bulk of their raw materials from the far southern states. The Galax Knitting Company and the Galax Mirror Company import their raw materials. This indicates that the town of Galax, in which these industries are situated, has experienced an industrial development which is not based upon the natural resources of Carroll and Grayson Counties. There is an unusual concentration of industry in one group which may seriously affect the future development of the town and surrounding community should there be a decrease in demand for furniture products, all of which indicates that there should be a development of complementary industry.

Classification of Industries
Group I—Food and Kindred Products Class No.*
Cocoa Cola Bottling Works (Galax) 101
Galax Bottling Company (Galax) 101
Sylvatus Bottling Works (Sylvatus) 101
Carroll County Cheese Manufacturing Company (Hillsville) 108
Bryant Flour Mill (Galax) 117
**Cranberry Milling Company, Inc.(Woodlawn) 117
Gardner Milling Company (Carroll County) 117
Sylvatus Milling Company (Sylvatus) 117
Blue Ridge Ice Company (Galax)
Group II—Textiles and Their Products Class No.
Galax Knitting Company (Galax) 235
Group IV—Lumber and Allied Products Class No.
Troy Goodson & Company (Galax) 406
Edwards Chair Factory (Galax) 409
Galax Furniture Company (Galax) 409
The Vaughan Furniture Company, Inc. (Galax) 409
Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company (Galax) 409
Webb Furniture Company, Inc. (Galax) 409
Builder’s Exchange (Galax) 411
C. A. Reavis (Galax) 412
W. K. Early & Sons, Inc. (Galax) 412
Group VII—Paper and Printing Class No.
Excelsior Printing Company (Galax) 716
Blue Ridge Printing Company (Galax) 718
Grayson-Carroll Gazette (Galax) 718
Hillsville Publishing Company (Hillsville) 718
Group VIII—Chemicals and Allied Products Class No.
The National Carbide Corporation (Carroll County) 807
Group IX—Stone, Clay, and Glass Products Class No.
Lineberry Brick Company (Galax) 905
Ward Brick Company (Galax) 905
Galax Mirror Company (Galax) 916
Group XVI—Miscellaneous Industries Class No.
Gossan Mines (near Galax) Unclassified
Galax Laundry (Galax) Unclassified

Industrial Statistics
Group Number
Volume of
Food and kindred products 20 $22,400 $166,300 $254,700
Textiles and their products;
Lumber and allied products
847 612,500 1,546,200 3,675,000
Paper and printing;
Chemicals and allied products
82 91,394 132,362 535,500
Stone, clay and glass products;
Miscellaneous industries;
Pulic utilities
175 159,500 5,047,000 1,806,160
Total 1,124 $885,794 $6,891,862 $6,271,360

Group Volume of
Value of Raw
Added Value
Food and kindred products $254,700 $139,350 $115,350
Textiles and their products;
Lumber and allied products
3,675,000 1,705,600 1,969,400
Paper and printing;
Chemicals and allied products
535,500 289,800 245,700
Stone, clay and glass products;
Miscelaneous industries;
Public utilities
1,806,160 255,000 1,551,160
Total $6,271,360 $2,389,750 $3,881,610

Value Added by Manufacture. It is noted from the table above that $3,881,610 was added in the manufacturing process during the year 1928. The additional value over raw materials is about 120 per cent. This figure is in contrast with 87 per cent. for the entire state based upon the 1925 Census of Manufactures. The percentage of increase is high because the furniture industry produces a large increase in value as compared with other types of manufacturing throughout the state.

Grist Mills and Saw Mills.-There are a large number of small grist mills located in every section of Carroll County. It has been estimated by as accurate count as possible that there are approximately 100 water power mills valued at approximately $200,000. There are also about 150 mills operated by gasoline engines valued at approximately $80,000. These mills have developed as community necessities and are used by small groups of farmers for preparing the whole grain into a food product.

There are about 45 small portable saw mills situated in the county. None of these mills operate on a large scale, but serve to furnish fire wood and a limited portion of the building material for farm structures.

Industrial Sites

Galax.-On account of its rail facilities, Galax presents the best location for industrial development to be found in Carroll County. The town is situated at the terminus of the Pulaski-Galax branch of the Norfolk and Western Railroad and is the trading center for a large territory. There are quite a number of industrial sites along the railroad, some within the corporate limits of the town and some immediately outside. These sites are found in the present industrial district which lies principally in Carroll County. The industrial district of Galax occupies the low lands adjacent to Chestnut Creek. Although the town extends to the neighboring hill sides, the principal business and industrial district is situated on relatively level ground. This level area is occupied by present industrial establishments to approximately one-third of its extent, so that the opportunity for further industrial expansion in this locality is unquestioned.

Other Industrial Sites.-The railroad follows the New River throughout its entire course through Carroll County. This combination furnishes opportunity for the location of industry in close proximity to power and rail in the northwest corner of the county. There is also a spur of the Pulaski-Galax railroad which branches off at Allisonia and extends into the northern part of the county to the town of Sylvatus. The northwest and the north central part of the county thus are the only portions with rail service. Federal highway route No. 121 traverses the entire length of the county from north to south and is paved the entire distance. Industry not dependent upon rail transportation but which receives and delivers its products by truck may conveniently and profitably locate upon this highway. Hillsville is situated at the junction of federal highway No. 121 and state highway No. 12 and may be the location for industry of the type which .could locate along highways. Hillsville and the southern part of Carroll County are not served by rail facilities.

Industry Desired.-It would be well, as already indicated by the activity of the local people, to have a development of industry which would utilize raw materials produced in the county. There is a definite effort directed toward the organization and development of a cheese plant in Galax. Carroll County, as well as its neighbor, could develop the dairy industry to much greater extent by having a good market in Galax. The milk products produced at the present time must be transported a considerable distance across mountainous territory, which very materially reduces the profits to dairymen. It is believed that an industry utilizing milk products would do more to improve the condition of the farmers of Carroll County than any other single enterprise.

Very little female labor is now employed in Galax and the county in proportion to male labor. The Galax Knitting Company is the only industry of considerable size in the county which may be said primarily to employ female labor. There should be a more balanced division of labor, and this balance could be realized by the development of other textile plants. Carroll County, Virginia, is situated only a short distance north of the textile centers of North Carolina and all the factors governing successful operation of textile mills are present in this county, or could be developed as they are in certain parts of North Carolina.

It seems to be an historic fact that furniture plants seek the company of one another. The furniture industry, which is now developing rapidly in the south, is concentrating in certain towns to the exclusion of other places which may be, from many viewpoints, just as advantageous. There are reasons for a concentration of furniture industry which are primarily economic. Trained labor for furniture manufacturing concentrates itself where there is the greatest amount of such manufacturing. This concentration has been responsible for the rapid growth and development of Galax and the community is to be congratulated upon its enterprise and its success in this direction. There will undoubtedly be a further expansion of the furniture business in this progressive town. There should be, however, a proper development of complementary industry to protect the town against possible reverses.

There are certain allied industries, such as mirror factories, mattress factories, etc., which should profitably develop in close proximity to the furniture industry. Local enterprise should carefully consider the establishment of such concerns.

It has been demonstrated that there are certain clays in the county which are capable of producing good common and face brick. There are only two brick plants operating in the county at present. As construction activities increase and better means of transportation are available it seems only logical to expect some expansion in this direction.


* The class number locates the industrial concern in the group and designates the product manufactured. “The Classification by Industries of the Census of Manufactures,” published by the Department of Commerce, gives a complete key to the classification.

** Generates power for public consumption.