The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 20 
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N.C. 20  32 miles
The Road: Begins at US 401 Business/NC 211 Raeford (Hoke County) and ends at NC 87 in Duart (Robeson County).
Towns and Attractions: Hoke Co.: Raeford  
Lumber Bridge, Robeson Co.: St. Pauls  
History: NC 20 was born in late 1934 as a renumbering of NC 220 #2. It ran generally as it does now.
1933 Official
NC 220 Raeford to Duart
1936 Official
NC 20 replaces NC 220

Around 1940, NC 20's east end was rerouted at Tobermory to hit NC 87 a mile further south. The orignial way is now SR 1308, "Old NC 20."
1936 Bladen County
NC 20 original east end
1944 Bladen County
NC 20 modern east end

Based on bridge dating, NC 20 bypassed the village of Rex in 1940.
1936 Robeson County
NC 20 through Rex
1944 Robeson County
NC 20 bypasses Rex

The original N.C. 20 was a colossal original state route. It ran from Tennessee west of Hot Springs all the way to Wilmington. A geographic look: NC 20 entered from Tennessee and proceeded to Hot Springs and Marshall generally along today's US 25-70., then dropped across the French Broad River at Marshall to get to Asheville, along today's Bailey Branch Rd, Bear Creek Rd, "Old NC 20" to re-cross the French Broad at Craggy-Woodfin. NC 20 was placed on today's NC 251 from Marshall to Asheville in 1926. The old route became secondary, though later the north end was part of NC 213 for a while and the south end was part of NC 63 for a while.
In late 1926, US 70 was assigned to all of NC 20 from Tennessee to Asheville and NC 20 was dropped from the route in late 1934.
1924 Official
NC 20 original Marshall to Asheville route
1926 Official
NC 20 stays east of the French Broad River

Within Asheville, NC 20 used Merrimon Ave, Broadway, and Biltmore Ave to go through Downtown Asheville, then east on Fairview Rd until it reaches today's US 74A. Through Asheville there was a triplex of NC 10-20-29.
About 1931, NC 20 was reouted in the Asheville area, leaving Merrimon Ave at College St and heading east through the Beaucatcher Tunnel, then following today's US 74A routing leaving the Asheville area. The old route using Fairview Road was still part of US 74 (but unsure what NC route was with it -- NC 10 used today's NC 81)
In 1934, NC 20 used Poplar St instead of College St to get to the tunnel in Asheville.
1926 Auto Trails
NC 20 original Asheville routing
1932 Texaco
NC 20 in Asheville, 1931-33
1929 Official
NC 20 in Asheville, 1934

NC 20 followed today's US 74-A through Fairview through Bat Cave and Lake Lure to Rutherfordton.
NC 20 followed US 74 Business through Rutherfordton, Pindale and Forest City.
NC 20 used "Old US 74" through the village of Concord, then US 74 Business through Ellenboro, then Main St through Mooresboro.
In Cleveland County, NC 20 followed US 74 to Shelby.
Within Shelby, NC 20 used Marion St all the way through town. East of Shelby, NC 20 used US 74 Business, then mainline US 74 (several loops are along here).
At Oak Grove, NC 20 followed David Baptist Church Rd, then US 74 Business into Kings Mountain.
NC 20 then followed NC 161 to Bessemer City, then NC 274 southeast to Gastonia.
In Gastonia, NC 20 followed US 29-74 to Chester St (SB US 321), then north to E. Main Ave (this was Airline Ave back then which E. Main no longer connects to). NC 20 cut north on Polar St to today's NC 7.

1933 Official
NC 20 Kings Mtn to Gastonia
1926 Auto Trails
NC 20 original Gastonia route

NC 20 followed NC 7 through Lowell, McAdenville and Belmont, then crossed the Catawba River in the vicinity of US 29-74 and probably used the Moore Chapel Loop.
NC 20 moved to modern US 29-74 from Gastonia to the Catawba River in 1929.

1929 Official
NC 20 through the towns of Gaston County
1931 Official
NC 29 cruising the old town route

After a brief jaunt on US 29-74, NC 20 followed Old Dowd Rd through Juneau, then through the airport area and continued east on Boyer St. back to US 74. NC 20 used modern Wilkinson Blvd by 1926.
NC 20 followed US 74 to I-77 then used S. Clarkson St to W Summit Ave to Mint St. NC 20 then followed Mint St to Trade St/Elizabeth Ave east to HAwthorne, then north to 7th St heading southeast out of Charlotte.
NC 20 followed Monroe Rd through Rama to Matthews, then E. John St to Stallings. NC 20 continued on Old MOnroe Rd/Old Charlotte Hwy to Monroe.
Through Monroe, NC 20 followed Charlotte Rd, then Franklin St through downtown. NC 20 then followed US 601 south to "Old 74" then east to US 74 which it followed to Wingate.
NC 20 used "Old Hwy 74" between Wingate and Marshville. NC 20 followed US 74 except Curtis Ln over to Peachland. The route through Peachland used Passaic St.
NC 20 used US 74 from Peachland to Polkton, then Prison Camp Rd and "Old US 74" in Russellville. It appears NC 20 used today's US 74 through Wadesboro.
East of Wadesboro, NC 20 followed the substantial "Old US 74" through Lilesville to Pee Dee.
After crossing the Pee Dee River, NC 20 followed SR 1184 Old Charlotte Hwy, then US 74 Business. Near Rockingham, NC 20 probably used N. Lee St to US 1. By 1930, NC 20 used Lee St and Ellerbe St south to modern US 74 Bus. Near modern US 220, NC 20 cut east on Franklin St, then cut southeast on SR 1648 Rockingham Rd.
NC 20 went back to 74 Business over to Hamlet, where it appears NC 20 used Spring St straight through.
NC 20 used Peggy Mill Rd, Gobble Rd and Old Rockingham Rd to Old Hundred, then US 74 to Laurel Hill. NC 20 moved to the modern US 74 routing by 1925.
NC 20 cut south on Richmond Hill Rd to NC 79, tehn followed NC 79 to Laurinburg.
In 1926, NC 20 used modern US 74 and 74 Business to go from Laurel Hill to Laurinburg. For a brief time Richmond Hill Rd became part of NC 203.

1924 Official
NC 20 original Laurinburg approach
1926 Official
NC 20 direct Laurinburg approach

NC 20 followed US 74 Business through Laurinburg and Maxton. If NC 20 used Caledonia Rd and Old Lumberton Rd it stopped doing so by 1923.
East of Maxton NC 20 followed US 74 to Gregory Rd, then NC 710 across the Lumber River, then NC 711 through Pembroke. NC 20 then picked up NC 72 into Lumberton, except at the I-95 interchange NC 20 was slightly south. The old one-lane bridge over the Lumber River was still on the SB frontage road well into the 1990s and the old nub tying into old NC 22 just across I-95 is still there.
Originally, NC 20 dropped south on Chippewa St/Hestertown Rd to NC 72. NC 20 changed to today's NC 72 all the way in 1926.

1925 Official
NC 20 original Lumberton exit
1926 Official
NC 20 revised exit

NC 20 followed NC 72 to its eastern end, then used US 74 across the Lumber River. NC 20 then picked up Strawberry Blvd through Evergreen to Chadbourn. Then NC 20 followed US 76 Bus through Chadbourn and Whiteville.
East of Whiteville, NC 20 followed NC 214 to Lake Waccamaw, then used Old Lake Rd northeast to NC 211 then back southeast to Bolton. NC 20 was moved to modern NC 214 between Lake Waccamaw and Bolton in 1923.
NC 20 followed today's NC 214 back to US 74-76 which it followed to Delco. Then NC 20 cut north to Acme on "Old SR 1818", then it followed Mount Misery Road through Northwest to Phoenix, then cut down to Leland via Lincoln Rd.
In 1923 or 1924, NC 20 used modern US 74-76 over to Leland and Village Rd. Delco to Leland was briefly part of NC 231 after this.
NC 20 then followed Village Rd to Belville and crossed the Brunswick River slightly south of modern US 17-74-76.

1922 Auto Trails
NC 20 original Whiteville to Wilmington
1924 Official
NC 20 revised Whiteville to Wilmington

Originally, NC 20 headed east across a ferry over the Cape Fear River, arriving in Wilmington on Market St. NC 20 used Market St to 17th St then south to Wrightsville Ave which it followed fully to Wrightsville, ending roughly where it meets US 74-76 today.
Around 1926, NC 20 was rerouted in Wilmington to follow 17th St south to today's US 76. NC 20 then followed US 76 to Oleander before returning to Wrightsville Ave near the end.
In 1929, NC 20 abandoned the ferry and instead went north along today's US 421 corridor to approximately where NC 133 crosses the river, then came down 3rd St to Market.

1922 Auto Trails
NC 20 ferry to Wilmington, Wrightsville Ave
1930 County
NC 20 bridge to Wilmington, Oleander Dr

In late 1934, NC 20 was dropped in favor of US 70 from Tennessee to Asheville; US 74 Asheville to Whiteville; US 76 Whiteville to Wrightsville.

NC 20's current routing does not serve a major purpose.
NC 20's duplex with US 401 Business over to NC 211 goes back to at least 1962.
Original NC 20 had 15 daughters, plus a couple were used more than once!
Original NC 20 was 401 miles long in 1923. Most of those 1923 miles are not primary routing today.

Last Update: 22 April 2008

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