Skip to main content

The Cemetery inside the Interstate 85 Median

Near Gaffney, South Carolina between exits 95 and 96, Interstate 85 separates to allow for a wider median.  The reason - a small family cemetery that dates to the mid-1800s.  The Lipscomb-Sarratt or  Ross-Lipscomb cemetery is an example of the numerous small family burial plots that were found within many rural farms and plantations throughout the South during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The cemetery consists of at least 13 gravestones with six that still have legible markings.  Most of those buried passed away between 1850-1880.   The cemetery is also one of the oldest in Cherokee County.



How the cemetery came to exist in the middle of an increasingly busy Interstate 85 is an interesting story.  In the early 1950s, South Carolina moved US 29 onto a newly built a two lane express highway from the North Carolina State Line near Grover to northwest of Spartanburg.  At the time, the cemetery sat just to the new highway's south.  What is now the Southbound lanes of Interstate 85 carried this new highway.
Interstate 85 first appeared in Upstate South Carolina around 1959. (SCDOT /Mike Roberson)
When the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956, the new US 29 highway would become part of Interstate 85.  With two lanes of the road already built, South Carolina quickly built two additional lanes of highway and closed any existing at grade intersections.  By 1959, a four lane Interstate 85 was open in the area.  SCDOT, wishing not to disturb the gravesite, built the new northbound lanes of the highway immediately to the south of the cemetery.

For years, the cemetery was accessible by a little known dirt road that connected the two carriageways of the Interstate.  This was to allow relatives of the families to maintain some upkeep of the grounds.  Over time, the dirt road has disappeared and upkeep of the property has become more difficult.  Distant relatives or anyone that knew of the site and wanted to investigate typically will park on the right hand shoulder and hustle across the highway.  Currently, a construction project that will widen Interstate 85 to six lanes has resulted in concrete barriers along the median making it rather difficult to visit the site.  The construction project is expected to last until 2021.  The widening project will keep the wide median and cemetery intact.

The new Interstate 85 Exit 95 configuration once the widening is completed.  The cemetery will remain in place.  (SCDOT)

Sources, Links, & Further Reading:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Interstate 210 and California State Route 210 on the Foothill Freeway

This past December I was passing through the Los Angeles Area on a weekend I took a detour onto Interstate 210 eastbound on the Foothill Freeway to California State Route 2.  I-210 and CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway essentially serve as the closest thing to a Los Angeles bypass that the L.A. Metro Area has.


I-210/CA 210 on the Foothill Freeway is an approximately 85.31 mile highway which begins at I-5 in the northern outskirts of Los Angeles and travels east to I-10 in Redlands of San Bernardino County.  I-210 exists as the 44.9 mile segment of the Foothill Freeway between I-5 and CA 57 whereas CA 210 makes up the remaining 40.41 miles east to I-10.  I-210 originally utilized CA 57 from Glendora south on the Orange Freeway to I-10.  CA 57 south to I-10 is still FHWA recognized as part of I-210 which likely won't change until California seeks approval to add CA 210 to the Interstate System.



Part 1; the history of I-210 and CA 210

I-210 was approved as a chargeable Interstate during …

California State Route 1; the Cabrillo Highway through Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula

This past January the winter weather was mild and conditions out in the Big Sur region were especially nice.  That being the case I decided on a weekend cruise northbound on California State Route 1 via the Cabrillo Highway from CA 46 near Harmony northward through Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula to CA 156 in Castroville.


CA 1 through the Big Sur region isn't uncharted territory for Gribblenation.  Back in 2017 when the Mud Creek Slide, Paul's Slide and the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge collapse occurred the topic of CA 1 in Big Sur was common on this blog site.  That being the case even though the topic of CA 1 through Big Sur has been covered extensively I never really examined much of the history of the highway in the Monterey Peninsula.  Aside from the fact that I wanted to feature CA 1 through the Monterey Peninusla I'm always game for a top level scenic highway.  To that end the photos that I took on this most recent trip to CA 1 far exceed what I was taking in 2017 and …

Locans, California ghost town site

This February I stopped at the site of the abandoned railroad siding known as Locans in eastern Fresno County.


Locans was a railroad sidings of the Southern Pacific Railroad spur line known as the Stockton & Tulare Railroad.  Locans was located on what is now Temperance Avenue just south of Bulter Avenue.  The Stockton & Tulare Railroad was completed in 1887 but it doesn't appear that Locans was one of the original sidings.  Locans doesn't appear on the 1889 George F. Cram Railroad map of California but nearby Butler does.


The first reference to Locans I can find is on the 1891 Thompson Atlas of Fresno County.  A large parcel of land next to the Stockton & Tulare Railroad can be seen east of of Butler owned by F. Locan.  Locan's land holdings surround a small siding known as Minneola which was about a half mile east of where the site of Locans would eventually be plotted.


Locan's property appears again on the Stockton & Tulare Railroad between Butler an…