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The Old Roads | the ones we used to take before they built the new one The Old Roads | the ones we used to take before they built the new one

On top of old Smoky
April 22016

Not covered with snow on this New Year’s Day, but still quite beautiful. I finally got my chance to retrace US441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Historic Old US441
April 12016

The very first post on this website was called “The Edge of the Gorge,” and it included a trip on the northernmost section of old US441 in Georgia, from near the North Carolina state line down to Tallulah Falls. This time, I picked up 441 south of the gorge.

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Skyland Drive
March 312016

I’d been wanting to do this one for a long time. Old US 23 in North Carolina. Of course, there’s lots more of the old highway yet to do, but this particular stretch – Skyland Drive – was just sitting there waiting, and for the longest time, blocked by a “road closed for construction sign.”

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Almost lost
November 32015

I’d spotted the road, way down in the Pigeon River gorge, from Interstate 40 years earlier. Kept meaning to go check it out, meandering as it does along the river, and I mean right along the river. I knew right where I could get back to the interstate — at the exit where the river rafting companies were.

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Old US 78
October 302014

It’s hard, sometimes, to find the old roads. They vanish completely, or they pick up new names when their shiny, four-lane replacements speed travelers around the towns and landmarks linked by those older thoroughfares.

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Progress. What exactly is it? For some, it’s a change in attitude, an enlightenment. For others, it’s new technology. Still others look to business development. And sometimes, they all come together — roads can do that quicker than anything. And they can change how we view it as well.

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Gem of the day
June 102014

Way down in west central Georgia, in Meriwether County, there’s tiny little unincorporated village called Imlac. I know something of unincorporated hamlets, as I hail from one myself, but Imlac is so small that the Census Bureau has no population data for it.

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The Road Home
April 202014

This is the road I lived on for nearly all of my childhood. It’s now called Warrensburg Road, presumably because it ran between Russellville and Warrensburg, a town I never knew existed until the road was named for it. That’s been fairly recently. It was called either Three Springs Road or Fall Creek Road back in the day.

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Back in the day
March 192014

Between 8th and 9th Avenues North, between North Ocean Boulevard and the King’s Highway, there sits a big old empty lot. A smaller, completely empty lot sits across the street between North Ocean Boulevard and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

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Family vacation
March 42014

Back before Interstate 40 followed the Pigeon River over the mountains, our annual or sometimes semi-annual trip to the beach started with a trip over a narrow, winding road over Viking Mountain in Greene County, Tennessee, and down the other side to Asheville, North Carolina.

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Stage 2
March 32014

When new roads are built, the old ones need names. In the case of numbered highways, the name often becomes “Old Highway Such-and-Such.” But if it’s prior to the use of numbered roads …

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In the beginning, there were animal trails, and the aboriginal peoples followed those and made their own. Then the white folk came in and drove out the original inhabitants, but kept to their trails, which eventually became roads. This used to be the main road between Greeneville and points west.

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Childhood memories
March 22014

US11E, known as the Andrew Johnson Highway in some parts for our 17th president, is another of Tennessee’s split highways, along with US25 E&W. US11W splits from its fellow 11 in Knoxville and runs on the other side of the valley in the shadow of the Clinch Mountains while 11E heads north in the land between the lakes.

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Cumberland Gap
March 12014

Here’s a look at one of the oldest roads in Tennessee and Kentucky — the one that goes through Cumberland Gap. Yes, that Cumberland Gap. The one Daniel Boone used. The Wilderness Road. Of course this is from 35 miles away.

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Mud Creek rising
February 272014

Here’s a video of Mud Creek covering McCullough Cemetery Road beneath the railroad. Captures the scene even better than the photos in Muddy Waters. I thought about trying to drive through. Not.

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Higher and higher
February 272014

So I was heading home from my dad’s in Tennessee, trying to avoid the under construction Interstate 40 bridge over the French Broad. I decided to take US25E through Newport and over the mountains, to pick up 40 over in North Carolina, not realizing the Wolf Creek Bridge was being rebuilt and road was closed.

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Underwater Highway
February 262014

These images come from old US25E between Morristown and Newport, Tennessee, along the French Broad River at a place called Dutch Bottoms. The construction of Douglas Dam flooded the bottoms in the 1940s, and this stretch of the highway went underwater.

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Way up there
February 262014

The Clinchfield Railroad was considered an engineering marvel, a 266-mile wonder from the coalfields of Appalachia to the mill towns of South Carolina completed in 1915.

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Muddy waters
February 262014

My dad used to drive a school bus, and part of his route went through this railroad underpass on McCullough Cemetery Road in Hawkins County. Except when it rained a lot.

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Edge of the gorge
February 262014

Prior to 1882, it was really, really hard to get to Tallulah Falls. After that, you could take a train, and if you did, you’d see quite a show — a 1,000-foot deep gorge with a series of six waterfalls over a one-mile span, the roar of the falls so loud you could barely hear yourself talk, and a constant mist rising from the depths.

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Listing Results

  • On top of old Smoky

    On top of old Smoky

    US441

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  • Historic Old US441

    Historic Old US441

    US441

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  • Skyland Drive

    Skyland Drive

    Mountain roads, Skyland Drive, US23

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  • Almost lost

    Almost lost

    Hartford Road

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  • Old US 78

    Old US 78

    US78

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  • A question of progress

    A question of progress

    AL1, North Eufaula Avenue, US431

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  • Gem of the day

    Gem of the day

    Covered Bridge Road

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  • The Road Home

    The Road Home

    Warrensburg Road

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  • Back in the day

    Back in the day

    North Ocean Boulevard

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  • Family vacation

    Family vacation

    Mountain roads, NC208, TN70

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  • Stage 2

    Stage 2

    Old Stage Road, Stagecoach Road

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  • All the world’s a stage

    All the world’s a stage

    Old Stage Road, Stagecoach Road

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  • Childhood memories

    Childhood memories

    US11E, US25E

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  • Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    Beacon Light Road, Wilderness Road

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  • Mud Creek rising

    Mud Creek rising

    McCullough Cemetery Road

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  • Higher and higher

    Higher and higher

    Mountain roads

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  • Underwater Highway

    Underwater Highway

    US25E

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  • Way up there

    Way up there

    Boones Creek Road

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  • Muddy waters

    Muddy waters

    McCullough Cemetery Road

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  • Edge of the gorge

    Edge of the gorge

    US441

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