The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 19 
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N.C. 19  dead
NC 19: An original state highway, it began at the South Carolina border at Tryon. South Carolina's side was also Hwy 19, which at that time went to Spartanburg, Union, and Newberry. NC 19 went to Columbus, Rutherfordton, Marion (where it crossed its parent NC 10), Spruce Pine, and Bakersville. The 1921 Official and the 1922-23 Auto Trails Maps show that NC 19 then continued northwest to the Tennessee Line.
The 1924 Official shows NC 19 north truncated to Bakersville where NC 197 also ended. NC 19 above Bakersville became secondary but is now parts of NC 261, Fork Mtn Rd and NC 226 today.
In 1926, US 176 was assigned to NC 19 from Tryon to S. Carolina.
In 1929, NC 19 was extended west from Bakersville over NC 197 to Red Hill, then as new primary routing to near Ramseytown, then replaced NC 692 to the Tennessee Line. Ramseytown to Tennessee was also part of US 19W.

1922 Auto Trails
NC 19 north of Bakersville
1924 Official
NC 19 ends in Bakersville
1929 Official
NC 19 extended west of Bakersville

Maps are not specific enough, but two old NC 19 alignments in Polk County were bypassed by 1930: One is the "Old US 19" that runs from Lynn over to I-26 (no crossing) then enters Columbus on Houston Rd. The other is the "Old Hwy 19" that runs from Pea Ridge southeast and around into Rutherford County which is called Grays Rd.
For a very brief time, US 221 was added as a multiplex from Spruce Pine to Little Switzerland to Woodlawn (not shown on '31 Official Map, but on some 1932 maps, and not on 1933 Maps). What was more lasting was the US 221 multiplex from Woodlawn through Marion to Rutherfordton.
In 1934, NC 19 was decommissioned:
Tennessee to Ramseytown remained US 19W-23 (again only US 19W today)
Ramseytown to Marion became NC 26 (today this is Hunter Dale Rd; NC 197; NC 226; NC 226-A; NC 226)
Marion to Rutherfordton remained US 221 (today this is still US 221 except there are significant "Old US 221" segments in the Glenwood, Thermal City and Ruth areas.
Rutherfordton to Tryon became NC 181 (today this is NC 108)
Tryon to S. Carolina remained US 176 as it is today.

1933 Official
NC 19 border to border
1935 General Drafting
NC 19 gone forever

NC 19 was 114 miles when eliminated. Today's NC 191, 194 and 197 are all daughters of the original NC 19.
Cecil Browns 1931 book The State Highway System of North Carolina, Its Evolution and Status reports that NC 19 in the Little Switzerland area was the subject of a routing dispute throughout 1920s. Important players who could affect highway routing had interests in Little Switzerland and wanted the state highway to run that way, while others argued a road built more directly by way of what has now become NC 226 was the thing to do. Because the state had spent considerable money to make the original route work, it elected to keep the roundabout climb in the system.
Rand McNally was ever hopeful, however, as their 1922 Auto Trails Map shows the direct route as NC 19.

Last Update: 1 December 2007

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