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End of US highway 601

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Additional research and/or photo credits: Mark Clifton; Greg Coniglio; David Dawson; Martin Karner; Jeff Morrison; Adam Prince; Mike Roberson; Lex Youngman

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1932 Cheraw, SC Florence, SC
1932-1935 Mount Airy, NC Florence, SC
1935-1951 Mount Airy, NC Salisbury, NC
1951-1977 Mount Airy, NC Hardeeville, SC
1977-present Mount Airy, NC (near Pineland, SC)

US 601 was one of the original 1926 routes, beginning at the junction with its parent route (US 1) a few miles south of Cheraw SC. The photo below was taken from southbound US 1-52, at the point where they diverge:

Google Maps Street View, July 2014

At the time, US 52 did not exist in this part of the country. Instead, it was US 601 that branched off to the left from US 1. From here, US 601 went only as far as Florence SC (you can view photos from there on this page). Note that neither Florence nor Cheraw is served by US 601 today (an explanation for that follows).

In 1933 the north end of US 601 was extended up to Mount Airy NC. It came into town on Rockford Street, and followed that road all the way to its end at Main Street (which carried US 52 at the time):

Google Maps Street View, June 2013

That's looking east on Rockford; US 601's original Mt. Airy endpoint was here at Main. In 1953 US 52 traffic was rerouted to its current bypass, and Main became US 52A (or "Alternate"). In 1960 US 52A was redesignated as Business 52. But all during that time, US 601 ended at the same intersection.

In about 1970, Business 52 was shifted from Main onto Renfro Street, which runs parallel to Main, just behind the trees visible in the photo above. So at that time, northbound US 601 jogged a block to the right on Main, then east again on Cherry Street, ending at Renfro:

c. 1994, from the book "The People of Route 601: Life in the Slow Lane", by Lex Youngman

Southbound 601 departed Renfro via Pine Street (one block to the left), rejoining Rockford via either Main or Graves Street. In 1995 all US 601 traffic moved off Rockford via Graves, then west on Pine, ending at Renfro. I believe that's where the photo below was taken:

Coniglio, 1990s

In 1999, the US 601 designation was truncated to the US 52 bypass, removing it from downtown Mt. Airy. But some signs there still reference US 601; here's a view from southbound Main:

Morrison, Aug. 2005

US 601 used to go to the right on Pine (Jeff reports that Pine is the preferred connector to Rockford, via Graves, one block to the right). But by the time of that shot, the US 601 designation had been truncated, as evidenced by the shot below:

Morrison, Aug. 2005

Until 1999, US 601 continued ahead on Rockford for another mile or so. The assembly shown there replaced the one pictured below:


Below we're looking at the north beginning of US 601 as seen from southbound US 52:

Morrison, Aug. 2005

In 1934, the US routes in this part of North Carolina began to look more like what we see today: the US 52 designation was assigned to the Mt. Airy/Winston-Salem/Salisbury corridor. The US 601 designation was truncated such that it ran only from Mt. Airy to Salisbury, via Yadkinville and Mocksville. So already by this time, US 601 didn't run anywhere close to its original assignment. In Salisbury, US 601 came into town co-signed with US 70 on Innes Street. It ended at Main Street, where it junctioned US 52. The shot below is looking southeast on Innes:

Karner, May 2013

US 601 ended here at Main, which has carried US 29, 52, and 70 at different times.

In 1951, US 601 was extended south from Salisbury along its modern route, returning to South Carolina. Where it reached US 321 south of Pineland, the two highways were co-signed down to a common terminus at US 17 in Hardeeville (you can view photos from there on this page).

In 1996 the south end of US 601 was truncated to its modern terminus: at its junction with US 321 about three miles south of Pineland SC. The photo below shows the southern end of US 601 at US 321:

Dawson, Dec. 2001

Note the stop sign and the backside of the assembly - those are both visible at far right in the photo below:

Dawson, Dec. 2001

That's looking south on US 321; as you can see, US 601 comes in at a rather extreme angle. Below we're heading north on US 321, approaching the south beginning of US 601:

Dawson, Dec. 2001

The front side of the assembly I pointed out above is visible in the distance; it's shown more closely in the photo below:

Dawson, Dec. 2001

That's a nice shot showing where US 601 splits off from US 321, as well as the confirming signs for each route. The assembly itself is shown more clearly in the photo below:

Prince, Aug. 2001