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End of US highway 129

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Justin Cozart; Nathan Edgars; Brent Ivy; Karin and Martin Karner; J.P. Nasiatka; Alex Nitzman; Chris Patriarca; Michael Summa; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1931 Gainesville, GA Macon, GA
1931-1935 near Cleveland, GA Macon, GA
1935-1941 Knoxville, TN Macon, GA
1941-1946 Knoxville, TN Jasper, FL
1946-1959 Knoxville, TN Old Town, FL
1959-present Knoxville, TN Chiefland, FL

US 129 was there in the beginning, though it was a relatively short intra-state route running between Gainesville and Macon GA (meeting its parent route, US 29, in Athens). In Macon at the time, Spring Street had a fairly straightforward four-way intersection with Mulberry Street/Georgia Avenue. US 129 came south on Spring and ended at Mulberry, which carried US 41. The photo below was taken from that intersection:

Karners, Apr. 2014

That's looking west on Mulberry - that was once southbound US 41 (the roadname changes to Georgia on the far side of the intersection). Heading off the right side of the photo is Spring - that was once the south beginning of US 129. (Also visible in the distance is one of the main buildings on the Mercer Law School campus.)

US 129 came into Gainesville via Athens Street/E.E. Butler Parkway. However, Jesse Jewell Parkway hadn't been built yet. Rather, historic maps indicate it was probably Spring Street (possibly Broad Street) which carried US 23. The shot below was looking northwest on E.E. Butler:

Google Maps Street View, Oct. 2011

The crossroad is Spring, and I believe this was the original north end of US 129.

AASHO records from 1934-1952 indicate the designation had been extended north to Corbin KY, but apparently this route was never actually signed as US 129. In 1935 the north end of US 129 was extended to Knoxville TN. Before it was routed onto the modern 4-lane between Knoxville and Maryville, it ran along what is now TN secondary hwy. 33, or the Maryville Pike. At Chapman Highway (which is now US 441), it was routed north into downtown Knoxville. Presumably it ended at the intersection shown below:

Karners, Apr. 2014

Chapman Hwy becomes Henley Street downtown. This shot is looking north on Henley, at the intersection with Cumberland Avenue. Today northbound US 11 and eastbound US 70 come in from the left on one-way Main Street (one block behind the camera), and are then routed north here onto Henley, along with US 441. But maps from the time show that there was no US 441 here at the time, and Cumberland was a two-way street carrying both US 11 and US 70, so this junction is where US 129 ended.

Currently the north end of US 129 is at its interchange with I-40 in Knoxville. This interchange was under major renovation when I was there, and it was hard to find a good place to stop and get a decent photo. The best I could do was this sign at the north end of US 129:

me, Oct. 2000

Incidentally, it should've said "To South I-75" and "To North 275". By the time Chris was there, new signs were up. Notice how they've got "To I-75" now, but not "To I-275".

Patriarca, summer 2003

Still no "End" sign, so Chris photographed the northernmost trailblazer:

Patriarca, summer 2003

Heading out of downtown Knoxville on westbound I-40, the sign below marks the exit to the north beginning of US 129:

me, Oct. 2000

The sign visible in the distance above is shown close-up below:

Patriarca, summer 2003

Here's the signage from eastbound I-40:

Patriarca, summer 2003

If you take that exit, the first US 129 confirming assembly looks like this:

Ivy/Nitzman, 2009

Known locally as the Alcoa Highway, US 129 serves the Knoxville airport, which is actually closer to Maryville. South of Maryville, 129 heads into the hills and skirts the south edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a very curvy road, and 40 mph is about the most you can do in many places. From what I observed, this is a very popular road among motorcycle enthusiasts. On the 60-mile segment from the North Carolina line to Knoxville, I noticed at least three US 129 shields missing from their posts! My theory on that is some... uh, shall we say, "less civic-minded" motorcyclists enjoy the road so much that they want a sign for their very own!

In 1941 the south end of US 129 was extended to US 41 at Jasper FL. The shot below is looking west on northbound US 41/129:

Nasiatka, July 2008

Today US 129 splits off to the right, but for a few years that was the south beginning of US 129. Then in 1948 the designation was extended further south: behind the camera for a short distance, then through Live Oak to Branford. From there, US 129 followed what is now FL hwy. 349 to Old Town, ending at its junction with US 19. The shot below is looking east on US 98, which is also southbound US 19/US 27A:

Nitzman, July 2007

In 1948 that was only US 19, and for about the next decade, the south beginning of US 129 was to the left on today's FL 349. Then in 1959, US 129 was rerouted along its present course south of Branford, ending at its current terminus in Chiefland FL. Here's how advance signage used to look:

Summa, 1978

Most colored shields in Florida have been replaced now; the photo below shows the intersection that was just ahead from there. We're looking northwest on Young Boulevard (or northbound Alt US 27 as well as US 19/98, which joined this road just behind the camera):

Cozart, Dec. 2003

US 129 begins to the right on Rodgers Boulevard. Below is a view from the opposite direction:

Nitzman, Jan. 2006

If you turn that direction, the first northbound assembly looks like this:

Nitzman, Jan. 2006

If you were turn around, you wouldn't find an "End" sign, but you would see the assembly shown below:

Nitzman, Jan. 2006

US 129 ends at the light. The green sign in the distance points left to Inglis, Cedar Key, and St. Petersburg; and Fanning Springs to the right.