Saturday, August 16, 2008

North Carolina Highway 62

Present highway number 62 was the first hard-surface road in Southern Caswell County. Engraved steel markers on bridges of the highway gives names of the creeks flowing thereunder and "Built by the State of North Carolina - State Project Number 511, 1922." A contract to grade the road was awarded to Haywood Simpson of Altamahaw, North Carolina. Trees were removed and the roadbed was plowed by a heavy steel turning plow pulled by four or more mules. Two-mule drag pans and wheelers were used to move dirt. A wheeler was a two wheel cart with scoop underneath and was pulled by two mules. When the wheeler was being loaded two more mules, called a "snath team" were hitched to the end of the tongue to help pull while the scoop was being filled with soil. On some of the sharp curves and steep hills much dirt had to be removed. In some places large rocks were encountered and dynamite was used for blasting. A heavy road scrape was pulled by six mules. All of the work was done by local labor.

The state set a limit on the amount spent per mile for grading. Thus, sharp curves were the result. Before the road was completed to the Alamance County line, the contractor was bankrupt and the road not completed. Attorney Robert T. Wilson of Yanceyville handled the proceedings. Finally Nello Teer of Durham, North Carolina, was given a contract to complete the road and it was open for traffic in 1924. Four years later a hard surface was applied.

One of the major problems encountered by the contractor, Haywood Simpson, was "pipe clay" from Burke's creek to the Bush Arbor vicinity. Soil from the nearby fields was used; however, that did not solve all the problems. The clay was so stiff that the mules could hardly pull the pans and wheelers. Mud was an additional handicap.

While grading the road a camp was set up for the workers and mules. Many shacks and a mess hall were moved from place to place. One of the camps was on the west side of the road and across from present Lawrence Walker's home. Some of the junked wheelers and pans remained there until the iron was stolen, ca. 1965.

Source: From Rabbit Shuffle to Collins Hill: Stories of Southern Caswell County, North Carolina, Millard Quentin Plumblee (1984) at 9-10.
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Highway 62 runs through Caswell County, North Carolina, from Milton in the northeast corner to Anderson in the south central area, where the highway enters Alamance County, North Carolina. Between Milton and Anderson, Highway 62 passes through Yanceyville. There are two iterations of this highway in Yanceyville. The very curvy and treacherous Old Highway 62 runs to the Yanceyville water works on Country Line Creek and then up the hills toward Anderson.

The second iteration turns south in east Yanceyville and proceeds to Anderson. This second Highway 62 was not so named initially as it was unpaved until straightened and reconfigured in the 1950s. It may then have been designated Highway 62. Before then no official name is known, but unofficially it was called "Bigelow Road." Possible, but not confirmed, is that this was the old stage coach road:
. . . . The Milton Chronicle at various times late in 1857 and early the next year advertised a new stage line from Danville by way of Yanceyville and Anderson's Store to the Haw River Depot on the North Carolina Central Rail Road. It operated three days a week, leaving Danville every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon after the arrival of the cars from Richmond. It arrived at the Haw River Depot at midnight, "in time for passengers to take the cars going east or west." The returning stage left Haw River on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 2:30 P.M., after the arrival of the trains from Charlotte and Goldsboro, and reached Danville at 11 o'clock the same night.
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Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 498.

North Carolina Highway 62 is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It runs from NC 109 in southern Thomasville east and north via Archdale, Climax, Julian, Alamance, Burlington, Jericho, Fitch, Yanceyville, and Milton to the Virginia state line, where it continues as State Route 62.

Starts at N.C. 109 in Thomasville, Davisdon County. Crosses into Virginia from Caswell County and continues northward as Virginia 62.

Towns and Attractions: Thomasville; Archdale; Burlington; Yanceyville Through Burlington, 62 runs partly over Alamance Road and partly over U.S. 70. It hits I-85 at exit 143.

History: Highway 62 dates from the early 1920s. Originally it ran from Asheboro to Yanceyville over what are now known as: Old Liberty Road, from Asheboro northeast to Liberty;
N.C. 49, from Liberty to Graham, through Graham and Haw River, and several miles north of Haw River, and today's 62, from northern Alamance county to Yanceyville.

Around 1928, 62 was extended to the southwest. Through Asheboro it ran over modern Business U.S. 220 (Fayetteville Street). Southwest of Asheboro it roughly followed today's N.C. 49, except that through most of Randolph County it ran over the lengthy "Old N.C. 49". Upon crossing the Yadkin River into Stanly County, 62 originally tacked south along the modern N.C. 8 to end at U.S. 52 (or N.C. 80) in the settlement of New London.

By 1930, 62 was extended northeast from Yanceyville to the Virginia line.

Around 1933, 62 was rerouted slightly and extended even further west. In Stanly County, 62 was rerouted to hit U.S. 52 in Richfield, as N.C. 49 does today. The old 62 that ran further south was first renumbered as an extended N.C. 740, but later became N.C. 62A. Further west, 62 was run along modern N.C. 49 to Mount Pleasant. In Mount Pleasant the highway ended at Mount Pleasant Road, which used to be N.C. 741.

In 1939 or early 1940, N.C. 62 was given its current alignment. In Guilford and Alamance counties, it replaced the old N.C. 144. In southern Guilford County, it replaced much of the older, longer N.C. 61. The former 62 south of Graham was renumbered as part of N.C. 49.

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