The Highways of North Carolina
U.S. 221 
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Photo: US 221 at NC 93 (Mapmikey)
US 221 jct NC 93
U.S. 221  150 miles
The Road: Begins at US 1 Rockingham (Richmond County) and ends at the Virginia State Line above Stoneville (Rockingham County).
Nationally US 220 runs from Rockingham to I-86/NY 17 Waverly, NY.
Towns and Attractions: Rutherford Co.: Rutherfordton  
McDowell Co.: Marion, Linville Caverns 
Avery Co.: Linville, Grandfather Mountain  
Caldwell Co.: Pisgah Nat'l Forest  
Watauga Co.: Blowing Rock, Boone  
Ashe Co.: West Jefferson, Jefferson  
Alleghany Co.: Twin Oaks  
History: US 221 appeared in 1930, running from US 19E/NC 69 Ingalls northeast via Pineola, Linville, Blowing Rock, Boone, Todd, and Jefferson to end at US 21/NC 26 Twin Oaks. US 221 was paired with NC 691 for its full length.

1929 Official
State routes from Ingalls to Twin Oaks
1929 Official
1930 Official
US 221 appears
1930 Official

In September 1931 (per VDOT Official map), US 221 was extended north with US 21/NC 26 into Virginia.
In 1932, US 221 was removed from the Ingalls to Altamont routing which remained NC 691 (now NC 194). US 221 was then extended south replacing NC 194 to Woodlawn, then was added to NC 19 to Marion and Rutherfordton, then added to US 74/NC 20 to Forest City, then added to NC 207 to Caroleen and Cliffside before continuing into South Carolina. In this action, the NC 691/194 designations along US 221 from Woodlawn to Twin Oaks all became part of the original NC 28.
However, it is possible that US 221 briefly followed US 19E to Spruce Pine then NC 19 down the mountain to Woodlawn. A 1932 GOusha map shows this. No other 1932 maps I've seen corroborate this although I have yet to see a 1932 Official NCDOT map (which do exist).

1932 Gousha
US 221 via Spruce Pine?
1932 Gousha
1935 General Drafting
US 221 gets to Rutherfordton and beyond
1935 Gen Draft

In late 1934, NC 28, NC 19, and NC 207 were all dropped from US 221.
Between 1931-36, US 221 was removed from SR 1148 Dillinger Rd and SR 1143 Crossnore Rd through Crossnore.
In 1941, US 221 was rerouted at Rutherford to head more directly to South Carolina, mostly replacing NC 741 from Rutherfordton to near Harris, then new construction to South Carolina. The old route became US 221-A which is remains except for "old us 221 ALT" near the state line; Old Main St in Cliffside; some other abandoned routing near Boiling Springs Rd.

1936 Official
US 221 via Cliffside
1936 Official
1941-42 Official
US 221 via Harris
1941-42 Official

In 1937 or 1938, US 221 was removed from SR 1558 Old US 221 and SR 1556 American Thread Rd in the Woodlawn/Sevier area. Note that Old Linville Rd was bypassed before US 221 was assigned to this corridor.
Between 1939-44, US 221 was placed on its current routing from Crossnore to Pineola, leaving behind SR 1524 Tennant Rd and SR 1504 Pineola Rd (no longer crosses Linville River).
Between 1945-49, US 221 was removed from SR 1208 Machine Shop Rd in Marion.
Between 1949-53, US 221 was removed from SR 1542 Old Blowing Rock/Jordan Cook Rds and SR 1545 Meadowview Dr. south of Boone.
About 1953, US 221 was rerouted at Boone to follow US 421 east to Deep Gap then north over existing roads and new construction to south of West Jefferson. The old route through Todd became part of an extended NC 194.

1947 Gen Drafting
US 221 through Todd
1953 Official
NC 194 replaces US 221

Between 1954-57, US 221 was removed from SR 1572 Old US 321/Roaring River Rd north of the Blue Ridge Pkwy.
In 1956 or 1957, US 221 was rebuilt between Rutherfordton and Marion, leaving behind SR 1536 Old Marion Rd in Rutherfordton; SR 1537 Gilboa Church Rd through Gilkey; SR 1362 Gilkey School Rd; SR 1508 Old Union Mills Rd; SR 1501 Coney Island Rd; SR 1781 Polly Spout Rd through Vein Mtn; SR 1786 through Glenwood; SR 1165 3-point Rd north of I-40; 0.35 miles of NC 26 (now NC 226).
In Nov 1972 (NCDOT), US 221 was rerouted in Boone to leave US 321 via its current routing on Blair Rd instead of using Blowing Rock Rd/Hardin St to US 421.

1962 Watauga County
US 221 on Blowing Rock Rd
1962 Watauga County
1980 Watauga County
US 221 on Blair Rd
1980 Watauga County

In 1982, US 221 was rebuilt from Baldwin north to bypass West Jefferson and Jefferson, leaving behind Baldwin Rd, Beaver Creek School Rd and US 221 Business.

1980-81 Official
US 221 through Jefferson
1980-81 Official
1982-83 Official
US 221 bypasses Jefferson
1982-83 Official

In 1990, US 221 was rerouted to the west of Linville to NC 181 then east into Linville, leaving behind SR 1545 Linville Av.

1968 Avery County
US 221 north to Linville
1968 Avery County
2009 Avery County
US 221 east to Linville
2009 Avery County

About 1992, US 221 was given its bypass of Marion, leaving behind US 221 Business.

1990-91 Official
US 221 through Marion
1990-91 Official
1993-94 Official
US 221 bypasses Marion
1993-94 Official

In July 1997 (NCDOT), US 221-421 was removed from E. King St just east of NC 194 Boone.
In Dec 2005 (NCDOT), US 221-421 was placed on new construction from the S. New River east to Deep Gap, leaving behind a lengthy "Old US 421".

Comments: US 221 is a poor man's Blue Ridge Pkwy with plenty of good mountain scenery to be had north of Marion.
There has been a US 221 TRUCK route from Ruth south to Danieltown utilizing US 74 ALT and Hunter Carver Rd back to at least 1989.
There is also a US 221 TRUCK between Linville and Boone that follows NC 105. I don't know how long that has been in place. In fact, it would make sense to move US 221 to the much straighter NC 105.
In the 1980s there was a NC 221 shield between Linville and Blowing Rock.

Last Update: 15 February 2013

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