Old Russellville Pike

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Hometown

Before there was US11E, Russellville had a Main Street. It’s a block north of the highway, which ate up a street once called Chestnut. My family’s stores were down there, the old library/community meeting space, homes, and past the hill that rises up to the north with the other streets of the town (somebody please explain Dodson Ferry Rd on the side of hill), farmland.

Actually, let’s take a second to talk about Dodson Ferry. I don’t understand that road. It “should” be North 1st Street (and no, there never has been a South 1st etc) and is where Dodson Ferry ends at Three Springs Road. North 1st then loops around to the old Methodist Church and becomes North 2nd Street, which runs the four blocks to Luther Proffitt Road, where it ends, as does Dodson Ferry. North 3rd Street begins at Three Springs a block up from North 2nd and runs across, but turns before it gets to Luther Profitt, ending on North 2nd between Luther Proffit and North 4th Street, which inexplicably runs perpendicular to the other named streets from North 3rd to Main Street/Old Russellville Pike. Who did this naming???

Anyway, Russellville Pike. Down on the east end, the Pike comes an official end, although the road that got named Pike continues across the highway as Stagecoach Road. On the west end, right in front of Russellville Elementary School, it rejoins the highway.

I have photos of the bank that stood at Depot and Main, Thomason Brothers Dry Goods across the street, Main Street with horses. Someone in a Facebook group I belong to posted a photo they believe is work on the pike, turning it from a dirt road to … whatever it became next in the mid 20th century. The canning company photo also comes from that Facebook group. And I thought I had a 1915 map of Russellville, but it turns out it’s the “Russellville Land Company Addition” in 1915, showing everything south of the pike to the railroad. Including Chestnut Street and the old school.

Old Russellville Pike was also home to a library, for a time, where community groups like the Home Demonstration Club, the Community Club, and the 4-H Club met. The librarian, Charles Patterson, lived in the old Nenney home up the street, now the Longstreet Museum. It’s now a private home.

Old Russellville Pike is State Route 344 for most of its short route, but 344 follows St Clair Road off into the distance while the pike runs up to the highway.

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