The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 8 
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N.C. 8  95 miles
The Road: Begins at US 52 and NC 740 New London (Stanly County) and ends at the Virginia State Line at Colesville (Stokes County). The route continues 53 more miles as VA 8 to US 11 in Christiansburg, VA.
Towns and Attractions: Stanly Co: New London
Davidson Co: Southmont, JOUAM Home, Lexington
Forsythe Co: Winston-Salem
Stokes Co: Danbury, Hanging Rock State Park
History: NC 8 was born by 1930 as new primary routing. The state upgraded the road from Lexington south 5 miles to the Junior Order United American Mechanics (JOUAM) children's home, which opened in 1928. Why this needed a new number as opposed to being a southern extension of the original NC 66 is beyond me.
About 1936, NC 8 was extended south as new primary routing to Abbot Creek, just below Southmont.
About 1939, NC 8 was extended southeast to NC 62 (current NC 49), again as new routing. The scans below show the first three incarnations of NC 8.

1931 Official
NC 8 (1930-35)
1936 Official
NC 8 (1936-38)
1939 Official
NC 8 (1939-40)

In late 1940 Virginia and North Carolina agreed on making all routes the same number at their border crossings. Thus, VA 8 (there since 1933) becoming NC 109 just wouldn't do. So NC 8 was extended from Lexington north along US 52 (using 3rd St. in Lexington) to Winston-Salem, then replacing NC 109 through northern Forsyth County and all of Stokes County to the Virginia State Line. NC 8 was routed in downtown Winston-Salem to leave Main St at 5th St east to Patterson St north, briefly breaking away from US 52.

1939 Official
NC 109 north of W-S
1941 Official
NC 8 takes over

Between 1945-49, NC 8 was rerouted north of Winston-Salem by being removed from Indiana, Cherry St, and part of Germantown Rd and placed on Patterson Av out to Germantown Rd.

1944 Forsyth County
NC 8 original Forsyth County route
1944 Forsyth County
1949 Forsyth County
NC 8 changes in Forsyth County
1949 Forsyth County

NC 8 was quiet for a while, but in 1953 it was extended west along NC 49, then south to New London, replacing the 3rd NC 6.

1948 Rand McNally
NC 6 making the cutoff
1953 Official
NC 8 wins out

About 1954, NC 8 was placed on one way splits in Winston-Salem using 4th St (SB) and 5th St (EB).
In 1960, NC 8 was moved from Main St to Old Salem Rd in the Salem College area.
In 1962, NC 8 in Winston-Salem was changed from to Main St-5th St-Liberty (NB) and Liberty-1st (SB).
It appears that by 1965 NC 8 was moved from 3rd St. to 6th St in Lexington.
About 1964, the North-South Freeway was finished from a little south of I-40 (today's Green 40) north out of town. NC 8 northbound was placed on I-40 from Main St east to the North-South Freeway, then north along the freeway out of town (US 52 followed NC 8 through all this). Southbound NC 8 exited the North-South Freeway at Liberty St and still went through Downtown Winston-Salem, using Main St to exit town. Patterson Ave above Liberty has been secondary ever since. Liberty St east of Patterson has only been primary routing during this odd arrangement.
Between 1970-72, the rest of the North-South Freeway was completed, and US 52/NC 8 was placed on it, eliminating the odd route split. All the surface streets used by NC 8 southbound have been secondary ever since. The scans below show the Winston-Salem evolution:

1958 Official
Through town
1960 Official
Bypasses Salem College
1960 Official
1963 Official
NC 8 reunited with US 52
1963 Official
1965 Official
Split routing
1972 Official
All freeway

US 52/NC 8 was moved onto more new freeway between Winston-Salem and Lexington in two steps, bypassing Midway between 1980-82, then bypassing Welcome between 1991-93.

1979 Official
No freeway south of W-S
1982 Official
Bypassing Midway
1965 Official
No longer Welcome

About 2003 NC 8 was rerouted in Lexington, taking it off of its Main St routing in Lexington (old US 29-70 from way back) and using 5th/6th down to Raleigh Rd (old US 64) to Talbert Blvd. all the way back to Cotton Grove Rd near Main St. This is shown explicitly on the 2006 Online Davidson County Map

Comment: NC 8 is generally a 3-segment route. The southern third runs near the Uwharrie National Forest and skirts near the east side of High Rock Lake. The middle segment is freeway through Winston-Salem, while the northern third moves into some gnarlier territory in the piedmont area and sparsely settled Stokes County.
NC 8 is still split onto one-way streets north of Main St Lexington using 5th/6th Sts.

Last Update: 14 May 2010

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