The early 1830s spawned a flurry of interest in building railroads in North Carolina. Many more companies were formed and railroads proposed than were actually constructed. That would be an outstanding topic to cover but, for now, this brief post is limited to an annotation on an 1832 manuscript map drawn to illustrate a potential route of what eventually became the North Carolina Railroad.
Map Shewing the Routes of the Central and Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroads was drawn by W. Schlater. The survey for a potential route of the Central railroad west of Raleigh pretty much followed a direct line from Raleigh to Salisbury, along the current path of US Hwy 64. South of the current location of Siler City, in SW Chatham County, one sees a contemporary pencil annotation, “Worthless.”
When the North Carolina Railroad was constructed over 20 years later, it followed a more northerly arc, leading to the development of towns such as Burlington and High Point, and bypassing “Worthless” southwest Chatham County. Beautiful farm land or an arc of outlet shops and strip centers… I suppose “worthless land” means different things to different people.