Mining near Pine Log Mountain
Mining Towns:
Sugar Hill and Aubrey

On the west side of Pine Log Mountain were two mining towns that are now ghost towns: Sugar Hill and Aubrey. This map of the west side of Pine Log Mountain shows the location of Sugar Hill and Aubrey and many of the significant sites for iron and manganese mining on the mountain.


The Cartersville Fault runs between the main part of Pine Log Mountain and Little Pine Log Mountain, where the fusing of two ancient continents pushed up many minerals, especially iron and manganese. This map shows Sugar Hill in the center, the “County Home” or Poor House above White on what is now Route 411, Upper Aubrey Lake where the mining town of Aubrey used to be, and several of the iron furnace sites along Stamp Creek.   

Kinsey Cut at Sugar Hill
Photo from Samuel W. McCallie, A Preliminary Report on a Part of the Iron Ores of Georgia (1900).
Sugar Hill Mine, Kinsey Cut

During the Civil War, the Etowah Iron Works was burned and Pine Log Mountain’s iron industry temporarily came to a halt. But by the 1870s, mining was going full tilt again, especially with the almost free labor provided by the convict lease system. Mining continued on the mountain through World War II, during which time manganese, an important mineral for defense purposes, was extensively mined. In the early twentieth century, geologist Samuel W. McCallie photographed the mines for his books on the iron and manganese deposits of Georgia. This McCallie photo of the Kinsey Cut at Sugar Hill illustrates the enormous scale of the mines. 

Pauper Farm Mine
Photo from Samuel W. McCallie, A Preliminary Report on a Part of the Iron Ores of Georgia (1900).
Open cut, Pauper Farm Mine

One of the largest mines was the Pauper Farm Mine, named for the nearby Bartow County Poor House. The Bartow County Pauper Farm or Poor House was to the west of the Sugar Hill mines, near what was then the Tennessee Road and is now Route 411. It is now the site of the Hickory Log Vocational School, next to the Toyo Tire Factory between Rydal and White. You can still see the rock walls of the mine behind the factory. A cemetery for the Poor House is overgrown in the woods behind the Hickory Log School and the Toyo plant. 

Pauper Farm: Bartow County Poor House

Photo courtesy of Bartow County History Museum.  

Bartow County Poor House   

Pauper Farm, also known as the Poor House, housed the county’s destitute from 1866-1930. Men, women and children, both black and white, were housed in the complex. The elderly, orphans, and people with physical and menta disabilities were among those placed in the Poor House. Able-bodied inmates worked in the fields. 

The Lost Town of Aubrey

Photo from Samuel W. McCallie, A Preliminary Report on a Part of the Iron Ores of Georgia (1900).

The Aubrey Mine

The town of Aubrey, on the west side of Pine Log Mountain near White, was a mining community from the late 1800’s until the mid-1900’s. Many of the surrounding communities depended on Aubrey, where iron and manganese were mined. The town got its name from William Aubrey, a man of many trades, who served in the Texas Revolution, as well as being a trader and co-founding the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. He came to the Pine Log Mountain area after the Civil War and married the daughter of then Georgia Governor John Forsyth. Despite being the namesake for the town of Aubrey, he only lived near there during the final years of his life.  

Photo by Pamela Wilson

Upper Aubrey Lake today.

Photo Courtesy of Bartow History Museum.  

The Iron Belt Railroad at Sugar Hill Mine.
The Railroads and Sugar Hill 


The Iron Belt Railroad was a single gauge railroad built in the 1880s to connect Sugar Hill and the other Pine Log Mountain mines with the Western and Atlantic Railroad, and later with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
Railroads and mining were inextricably linked in the Pine Log Mountain area from before the Civil War, as the railroads were needed to carry the iron and manganese to industrial centers across the country. 
The Western and Atlantic Railroad reached Bartow (then Cass) County in 1843, the Iron Belt Railroad in the 1880s, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad reached Pine Log Mountain in 1906. 
Mules and Rail Cars 

Mules were used for hauling loads of iron off of the mountain, going back to the pre-Civil War iron furnaces of Stroup, Lewis and Cooper.
In this photo of the Iron Belt Railroad, the mules are pulling the rail cars. 

Photo courtesy of Bartow History Museum.  

African-American Railroaders  
In a 2010 interview with Maureen Cavanaugh for KPBS, Theodore Kornweibel, author of Railroads in the African-American Experience: A Photographic Journey, explains,  “The entire southern railroad network that was built during the slavery era was built almost exclusively by slaves. Some of the railroads owned slaves, other railroads hired or rented slaves from slave owners.” 
After the Civil War, Kornweibel explains, “The railroads were the most important industry that blacks ever worked in. . . . More blacks were railroaders than were steelworkers, were coal miners, were loggers. You pick the industry that African-Americans participated in. . . .  Railroading is the—the—African-American industrial experience.” 

© 2023 by Marian Dean. Proudly created with