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End of US highway 76

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Adam Froehlig; Martin Karner; Mike Roberson; Jim Teresco; Ed Wilson; Morgan Younce

Approx. time period East terminus West terminus
1926-1932 Florence, SC Greenville, SC
1932-1935 Florence, SC Chattanooga, TN
1935-2001 Wrightsville Beach, NC Chattanooga, TN (Broad)
2001-present Wrightsville Beach, NC Chattanooga, TN (MLK)

US 76 was a 1926 route, with its east beginning in Florence SC (you can view photos from there on this page). At the time, the west end of US 76 was in Greenville SC. The photo below is looking east on North Street:

Karner, May 2013

The crossroad is Main Street, which originally carried US 25/29. The west beginning of US 76 was straight ahead on North.

In 1932 the west end of US 76 was truncated at Laurens SC, and instead extended via its modern corridor through Georgia to Chattanooga TN (you can view photos from there on this page).

In 1935 the east end of US 76 was extended to Wrightsville Beach NC, outside Wilmington. By 1936 US 74 had joined with it, and the two routes were co-signed north on Lumina Avenue to a common terminus. This endpoint was at the intersection of Parmele Boulevard:

Google Maps Street View, Nov. 2013

That's looking northeast on today's US 74. That's where both US 74 and US 76 ended until about 1940. At that time, US 76 was changed to serve the south end of the island, as it does yet today. (Meanwhile, US 74 continued to end at the junction shown above until 1989. Then it was extended further ahead on Lumina; to view its current endpoint, please see my US 74 page).

Today US 74 and US 76 take different routes through Wilmington; on the east side they are co-signed for a short distance before splitting apart again on Harbor Island to take separate causeways over to Wrightsville Beach. This town is on a barrier island (a long, narrow island which parallels the coast). US 74 heads to the north end of the island, while US 76 serves the south end:

Karners, Apr. 2014 (sign posted since at least 2012)

The "Next 1.7 miles" sign seems like kind of an odd way to phrase it. But while that's not the actual end of the highway, the intention is to reduce unnecessary traffic by sparing unsuspecting tourists the trouble of driving another two miles to a dead-end, only to have to turn around. However, if you actually want to reach the endpoint, keep driving and following the signs, and you'll finally come to the one shown below:

Watkins, Jan. 2008

Just behind the camera, southbound Waynick Boulevard makes a turn to the east and becomes Sunset Avenue. That sign directs travellers to turn south again on Lumina. From there, it's only about a half-mile to the south end of Lumina:

Google Maps Street View, Nov. 2013

That's where US 76 ended for about 35 years. Then in 1975, the designation was extended to the right a couple blocks on Jack Parker Boulevard, ending at the spot shown below:

Field, May 2005

The west end of Jack Parker is also the east end of US 76. Below is a close-up of the sign:

Benjamins, Apr. 2006 (US 76 shield gone as of Apr. 2014)

Ben proudly points out that he was coincidentally 76 years of age at the time of that photo. Which means: when he was born, the US highway system was in its infancy as well. May they both enjoy many more good years.

Heading the opposite direction, the first westbound US 76 sign is posted in a few blocks...

Watkins, Jan. 2008 (possibly gone as of Apr. 2014)

...but at the time of that photo, it was obscured by a (hopefully temporary) electrical connection. Incidentally, about four miles in that direction is the east end of US 74.