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End of US highway 221

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Justin Cozart; H.B. Elkins; Karin and Martin Karner; Alex Nitzman; Adam Prince; Mike Roberson; Michael Summa

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1930-1932 Twin Oaks, NC Ingalls, NC
1932-1954 Roanoke, VA Greenwood, SC
1954-1972 Roanoke, VA Perry, FL
1972-present Lynchburg, VA Perry, FL

US 221 was commissioned in 1930 to branch off its parent route (US 21) at Twin Oaks NC. The photo below is looking south on US 21/221:


Originally, that was just southbound US 21, which continued to the left, and to the right was the north beginning of US 221. At far right you can see the assembly for northbound US 221 traffic - drivers coming from that direction are at the historic north end of US 221.

From Twin Oaks, US 221 went down to US 19E at Ingalls NC. South of Crossnore, US 221 was originally routed along present NC hwy 194. Today's south end of NC 194 is the historic south end of US 221:

Google Maps Street View, 2009

The shot below shows the former south beginning of US 221, as seen from northbound US 19E:

Google Maps Street View, 2009

In 1932 both the north and south ends were extended outside North Carolina. To the north, US 221 now went up to Roanoke. It came in on Elm Avenue (as it does to this day), but it continued east of Franklin Road, ending at Jefferson Street, which carried US 311. The shot below is looking west on Elm:

Google Maps Street View, May 2012

The crossroad is Jefferson, so straight ahead was the original north beginning of US 221. But that was the case for only about two years. In 1934, US 221 was changed to the route that it still follows today, bypassing this segment of Elm. Instead, US 221 ended on Franklin at Jefferson. The photo below is looking south on Jefferson:

Google Maps Street View, July 2012

This was US 311, and to the right on Franklin was the south beginning of US 221. The shot below shows modern signage facing west at that junction:

Google Maps Street View, Apr. 2012

Straight ahead was the beginning of US 221. It wasn't long before this part of US 311 became US 220, but US 221 continued to terminate here for about 40 years altogether.

Also in 1932, US 221 was extended south to Greenwood SC. The shot below is looking east on Cambridge Avenue:

Google Maps Street View, Sep. 2012

I believe this was southbound US 25, which continued to the right just ahead (south on Main Street). To the left on Grace Street was probably the south beginning of US 221 (that's Business SC 72 today).

In 1954 the south end was extended to its present terminus in Perry FL. Here's how signage there looked back when Florida was still using colored US shields:

Summa, 1978

That was looking south on Jefferson Street, at the end of US 221. Compare that to the photos of modern signage below; this first one is from essentially the same perspective:

Cozart, Dec. 2003

Ahead is Puckett Road. The crossroad is Byron Butler Parkway, which carries US 19/US 98/Alt US 27. Because of the acute angle at this intersection, you can also see (at left) the sign indicating a left turn to the south beginning of US 221. That's shown in more detail below:

Cozart/Nitzman, Nov. 2006

Signage heading the opposite direction (north on US 19/98/27 Alt) looks like this:

Karners, Jan. 2010

That shows how mainline US 221 begins to the right, but Truck 221 begins straight ahead (because through trucks are not allowed on the first few miles of the main route). If you were to take that right turn, you'd soon see the first northbound sign, shown below:

Karners, Jan. 2010

I'm guessing the south beginning of US 221 used to be about a mile ahead, at Hampton Springs Avenue, which is the main east-west highway through town, and which probably carried US 19 and 98 (as well as US 27) before Byron Butler was built.

The north end of US 221 was extended to its present terminus in 1972. I'm guessing this was prompted when US 460 between Lynchburg and Bedford was re-routed onto a new expressway. The old route was too long to re-sign as "Business 460", so instead the 221 designation was co-signed with 460 from Roanoke to Bedford, and then extended to Lynchburg along old US 460. The photo below was taken heading north on US 29 (Lynchburg Expressway); it shows signage at the exit to the north beginning of US 221:

Nitzman, May 2005

That exit leads to Kemper Street. Heading north on US 221 (which is actually south on Kemper), this is the last northbound trailblazer:

Prince, July 2003

Not far ahead, we reach the end of the route:

Karners, May 2013

That "End" sign is fairly new; below is a close-up:

Karners, May 2013

Heading the opposite direction (north on Kemper), US 221 is referenced just before the interchange...

Karners, May 2013

...and then on the far side is the first signage posted on the mainline:

Karners, May 2013