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BlueRidgeMike

Following The Jefferson Davis Highway In North Carolina

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A couple of weekends ago we took an overnight trip with Monte Carlo #2 to follow the Jefferson Davis Highway through North Carolina. Beginning at the South Carolina border we traveled north, following as much as possible the original alignment of US-1 to Sanford, then US-15 to the Virginia border. Based on a combination of a 1925 Clason's Atlas, a 1926 Rand McNally Atlas and a series of Jefferson Davis Highway monuments, the route appears to travel through the following cities:

 

South Carolina State Line

Rockingham

Marston

Southern Pines

Cameron

Sanford

Colon

Pittsboro

Bynum

Rigsbee

Chapel Hill

Durham (Beginning here, the atlas refers to this as the Bankhead highway heading into VA)

Northside

Creedmoor

Hester

Tar River

Oxford

Stovall

Bullock

Virginia State Line

 

We were intending to identify the locations of all the known JDH monuments along the route, but it was a rainy, miserable day so we only found a couple. We backtracked to Durham, where we spent the night, then followed old US-70 which was the routing of the Bankhead Highway back to Greensboro. From there we split off and headed back home. Even with the weather it was an enjoyable drive.

 

post-32909-0-18721200-1378577173_thumb.jpg

 

post-32909-0-18658700-1378577185_thumb.jpg

 

Mike

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Hi Dave,

 

Geographically speaking, North Carolina consists of the mountains in the west, the ocean in the east and the flat center. The Jefferson Davis Highway runs through the flat center. The route travels through much of the state in low population areas. All of the towns mentioned in my earlier post are small until you reach the Chapel Hill - Durham area, which combined with Raleigh, constitutes a major metropolitan area. I did notice that much of the US-15 section had a Jefferson Davis Highway sign attached to the US-15 sign posts; I didn't notice that signage on US-1.

 

More recently, we drove sections of the JDH through South Carolina on a trip to Augusta, Georgia. I haven't had a chance to investigate it yet, but I think the JDH and the Carolina Alignment of the Dixie Highway share some roadway along Broad Street in Augusta.

 

At some point we will try to drive the NC section again when the weather is a little better, giving us more opportunity to explore.

 

Mike

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I first became aware of the JDH when I saw a "ZERO MILESTONE" in Kentucky hear his birthplace and really big monument. The plaque on the milestone referenced a highway from Fairview, KY, to Biloxi, MS. Sometime later I read something about a JDH marker in Washington state. That certainly raised some questions but I never pursued any answers. This thread awoke my curiosity again.

 

Apparently the JDH originally envisioned was to run from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. The Fairview, KY, route was an auxiliary and the Washington state bit was added later. In my searching, I stumbled onto a site (http://www.txudc.org/) with a list of 20 JDH markers. Most were erected in the 1920s & 1930s but there is at least one from 1955 and another from 1962.

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Hi Denny,

 

Thanks for the link. I think one of the problems with the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway is that it seems to have truly existed in some states but may have been the historic equivalent of "vaporware" in others. Then these side routs like the Biloxi, MS to Fairview, KY didn't help. I recently drove the section between Hopkinsville and Fairview, KY. I didn't go up in the monument (don't even know if you still can) but back in the 1970s I was stationed nearby at Ft. Campbell, KY and this was part of US-68 at the time. We drove past here frequently and I went up to the top of the monument back then. I notice that Google has it labeled as the Jefferson Davis Road, and they call the current US-68/State Highway 80 the Jefferson Davis Highway/Russellville Road.

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