The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 26 
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Photo: NC 26's old beginning at Grover probably looked much as it does on NC 226 today (Chris Patriarca)
NC 26
N.C. 26  dead

NC 26 #1: The first NC 26 was an original state highway. In 1922 it began at the South Carolina state line south of Pineville, where the road continued as SC 26 to Lancaster, Kershaw, Camden, Sumter, Manning, and Kingstree, before ending at SC 40 (now US 701) Georgetown. From Pineville, NC 26 went north to Charlotte, using Park Rd from the Pineville area, north to today's Scott Rd (Avondale Rd back then), then jogging NE to East Blvd., then NW to South Blvd., then NE to Moorhead St., then NW to Tryon St, then NE to 1st St., then NW to Mint St, (the 1st street piece was a multiplex with its parent, NC 20). NC 26 proceeded NE to W. Trade St (NC 27 then), then NW to N. Graham St., then NE to Statesville Rd, which NC 26 used to head north out of Charlotte. The 1923 Rand McNally shows NC 26 using Derita Rd (now part of N Graham) to exit Charlotte (presumably using Sugar Creek Rd. and either Gibbons or Old Potters Rd to get to Old Statesville Rd). If this is not an error, this routing north out of Charlotte was changed to Statesville Rd by November 1923, according to the 1923 Mecklenburg County Map once shown at
NC 26 then headed to Huntersville, Davidson, Mooresville, and Statesville. NC 26 then continued north to Elkins, Sparta, and Twin Oaks before entering Virginia. In 1922 Virginia had not numbered their side.
By the end of 1923, NC 26 used the South Blvd. entry from Pineville to Charlotte. Around January 1925, Virginia finally decided to number their side - as VA 26. This meant that 26 became a 3-state route that ran from Georgetown, SC to Bluefield, WV. Alas, WV numbered their part as WV 8.
Trouble for NC 26 began in 1927, when US 21 was assigned to all of NC 26 except the few miles below Pineville (US 21 was packaged with NC 261 to SC). NC 26 had a slight adjustment in Charlotte which occurred between 1927-30. Instead of 1st St NC 26 used 11th St to cut from Tryon to Graham.

1926 Auto Trails
NC 26 using 1st St and Derita?
1932 Texaco
NC 26 using Statesville Ave and 11th instead of 1st

More trouble came in 1933 when US 521 was assigned to the only solo piece of NC 26. In 1934, the original NC 26 was removed in favor of US 21 and US 521. Today, those designations have changed to: (1) Unnumbered from SC to Morehead St., (2) Morehead St is NC 27 (3) Tryon and 11th are unnumbered, (3) US 29/NC 49 along Graham, (4) unnumbered along Statesville Rd to US 21 (5) current NC 115 from its south end to Statesville, (6) US 21 from Statesville to Virginia - note that much of US 21 is totally rebuilt in State Road and Thurmond ("old US 21"). Also, NC 26 may have used parts of Golf Course Rd above Twin Oaks.

1928 General Drafting
NC 26 with US 21 added
1935 Gen Draft
NC 26 dropped from US 21

NC 26 #2: The second NC 26 was quickly reused in late 1934. It began at US 19W-23 (just 19W today) in Sioux and proceeded east to Bakersville, then south to Spruce Pine and Little Switzerland before ending at US 221 in Woodlawn. All of this had been the northern half of original NC 19.

1933 Official
NC 19 in 1933
1935 General Drafting
NC 26 replaces upper half of NC 19

In 1940, NC 26 underwent two changes. First, NC 26 was rerouted at Red Hill to proceed due north as new primary routing to Tennessee above Buladen (continued as TN 107) . The old route to Sioux was downgraded to secondary status (today it is part of NC 197 and Hunter Dale Rd).
Secondly, NC 26 was extended south along US 221 to Marion, then replacing NC 190 southeast to Polkville, Shelby, and ending at US 29 in Grover.

About 1947, NC 26 received a new alignment avoiding Little Switzerland on the way from Spruce Pine to Marion. The old windy way around became NC 26A.

1941-42 Official
NC 26 original ascent
1947 Gen Drafting
NC 26-A appears

Around 1956, NC 26 was rerouted in the area around US 64 near Dysartville. Originally, NC 26 used Fortune Road to US 64, then multiplexed on US 64 EB into Burke County, then south along Bolden Gap Rd. The new US 64-NC 26 jct was one of the earliest grade-separated intersections.

1953 Official
NC 26 original US 64 junctions
1958 Official
NC 26 modern US 64 junction

NC 26 met its end about 1961, as the number was needed for I-26. The entirety of NC 26 was renumbered as today's NC 226.

1936 Official
NC 26 (1934-1939)
1941-42 Official
NC 26 rerouted at Red Hill
1963 Official
NC 26 becomes NC 226 above Marion

1938 Gen Draft
NC 190 Grover to Marion
1942 Gen Draft
NC 26 replaces NC 190
1963 Official
NC 26 becomes NC 226 below Marion, too

Today, old 26 is still NC 226 except notably in Shelby, where 226 now drops to US 74 before Shelby. NC 26 follwed W. Grover St over to NC 18 before dropping south to US 74.

Last Update: 28 December 2007

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