Atlanta, Stone Mountain & Lithonia Railway

Stone Mountain, ca. 1910.

The ASM&L, which began operations in 1909, was a common carrier railroad with separate lines connecting to the Georgia Railroad at Lithonia and at Stone Mountain in DeKalb County. It primarily served granite and gneiss quarries in the two areas.Atlanta, Stone Mountain & Lithonia RR logo, the Granite Route

At Lithonia, the ASM&L operated two lines on the north side of the Georgia Railroad. One ran into the "Big Ledge" quarry on the north side of Lithonia, only a half mile from the Georgia Railroad. Branching off this was a longer line (slightly over a mile) to the quarries at Pine Mountain on the east side of town (former Pine Mountain Granite Company railroad).

South of the Georgia Railroad, the ASM&L had a 4-mile line from Lithonia to the quarries at Arabia Mountain. This was the former Lithonia & Arabia Mountain Railroad, which opened around 1889.

At Stone Mountain, about nine miles northwest of Lithonia, the ASM&L had a line which ran from the Georgia Railroad around the north side of the mountain to the granite quarries on the eastern slope. This line had been constructed not long after the Civil War by a predecessor company.

Ownership of the many Stone Mountain, Lithonia, and Arabia Mountain quarries changed hands over the decades but two major owners were the Venable brothers and, later, Davidson Mineral Properties, Inc. of Lithonia. The ASM&L came to be owned completely by Davidson.

Competition from quarries elsewhere, increasing use of trucks to haul stone, development of alternatives to dimension stone, and the effects of the Depression led to the abandonment of several quarry rail operations. The Arabia Mountain line was abandoned in 1935. That same year, the Stone Mountain quarry was taken over by the Works Progress Administration which operated it another five years. The quarry tracks were taken up in 1942.

Rail use continued at the Lithonia quarries on the north side of the Georgia Railroad for several more decades, but eventually almost all of these were abandoned too.

The Georgia Railroad had its own 4-mile branch running from its Lithonia rail yard northeast to the Davidson quarries near Rock Chapel. This line was abandoned in the late 1970s.

ASM&L gave up its charter as a railroad and merged into Davidson Mineral Properties on November 19, 1997. The Pine Mountain line was pulled up at this time, leaving only the line into the Big Ledge quarry. Currently it is still in operation, with rail service provided by CSX.

With the end of the ASM&L charter, the lone locomotive was moved to another Hanson quarry. It was replaced for in-plant use by a Trackmobile.

In 1972, DeKalb County acquired 400 acres of Arabia Mountain from Davidson Mineral Properties to create a nature park. Recently, DeKalb County worked with Hanson Aggregates, Davidson's successor company, to convert part of the old Arabia Mountain rail right-of-way to a rail-trail. The first 4.5 mile section of this bike path opened on June 14, 2004.

Reporting marks: ASML

Quarrying the 300 million year old rock at Stone Mountain. It formed deep underneath older rock that has eroded away.

(From: Thomas L. Watson. A Preliminary Report on a part of the Granites and Gneisses of Georgia. Geological Survey of Georgia, 1902).


Maps and Other Information:

1888 map of predecessor lines (178K)

1915 map (208K)

1921 map (42K)

1931 map (35K)

1951 photo of ASM&L locomotive at Vanishing Georgia.

1956 map of ASML at Lithonia (286K)

Much of the information above was provided by Kevin Wood of
Loganville, GA.

Photo at top of the page is from Thomas Leonard Watson, Granites of the Southeastern Atlantic States, U.S. Geological Survey, 1910. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey.

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