Skip to main content

What is/was the Boone Trail Highway

A few weeks ago, I came across this interesting marker in Hillsborough.

IMG_1406

It notes the starting point of an expedition that included Daniel Boone. But there was more on the back....

IMG_1409

...an iron cast marker for the Boone Trail Highway. That's where the fun begins. One of the things I enjoy most about my hobby is discovering something I wasn't aware of and being able to learn the history behind it. I always have considered the hobby a research project without a due date.

So of course, curiosity rules the day and I did some quick research and found out a lot about the highway. First, the markers date back to the era of Auto Trails - when regional and cross-country highways went by names not by numbers. And most trails were marked by color schemes.

The Boone Trail Highway is a product of Joseph Hampton Rich - from Mocksville, NC - who wanted to keep the memory of Daniel Boone's travels in the automobile age. From 1913 to 1938, he successfully erected 358 metal tablets from Virginia Beach to San Francisco.

Rich tied the promotion of the route with the need for good roads in many parts of the country. The Boone Trail Association promoted the highway through a newsletter. Unlike a similar route from the auto-route era, the Daniel Boone Trail that ran from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast, it doesn't appear that there was a definite route to the Boone Trail Highway.

From preliminary research of the highway, from Virginia westward to Kentucky the highway zig-zags wildly. In North Carolina, there are markers in Boonville, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem, Wilkesboro, Blowing Rock, and through Watuga County. In Virginia, Abingdon, Hillsville, and Wytheville. The markers were also placed in Johnson City, TN and Berea, KY. Markers were also placed and still can be found in Massachusetts.

The Boone Trail Highway spurred the interest of Everett G. Marshall - who wrote a book documenting Joseph Rich and the Boone Trail Highway titled, "Rich Man: Daniel Boone". It's a bit lengthy at 300 pages, but I am going to look for and purchase a copy.

The markers themselves have an interesting story - most of the cast iron came from the battleship USS Maine. Some are still in their original location -others preserved and moved elsewhere within the town. Sadly, some have been sold at auction.

Have you photographed any remnants of the Boone Trail Highway or any of the markers? I'd love to know.

Comments

Unknown said…
J. Hampton Rich was establishing a MEMORIAL highway (along existing routes) rather than marking any historic travels of Daniel Boone. This memorial highway generally ran east to west, coast to coast. Mr. Rich placed his markers on "cross links" or intersecting routes that accounts for many tablets off the main east-west highway. He was promoting better roads in an era when heritage tourism was just beginning. The book, "Rich Man: Daniel Boone" is available only from the author at boonehwy1913@gmail.com.
Unknown said…
I have a photograph of one that is near our house it is on Lexington Road in Louisville Kentucky on the side of the road near the Louisville Baptist seminary. Give me an email address and I will send you a photograph.
Adam said…
Hi my email is aprince27 at gmail dot com. You can also access it via my bio.
Anonymous said…
there is a marker in staley n c beside old us 421

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following