Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

Following The Jefferson Davis Highway In North Carolina

Recommended Posts

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



Southern Pines







Chapel Hill

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




Tar River




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.







Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...