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

California State Route 58/Old California State Route 178 west of CA 43

This past week I drove California State Route 58 west of CA 43 in Kern County over the Temblor Range and La Panza Range to US Route 101 near Santa Margarita of San Luis Obispo County.


CA 58 west of Bakersfield and CA 99 in general is a mostly two-lane highway that traverses some very remote territory of Central California.  I chose to cover CA 58 west of CA 43 specifically due to the changes in the alignment that are to come when the West Side Parkway connects to the Centennial Corridor project.  The Centennial Corridor will connect CA 58 west of CA 99 to the already completed segment of Freeway on the West Side Parkway.

Westside Parkway and the Centennial Corridor; Future California State Route 58

CA 58 from Barstow west to Bakersfield was carved out of what was US Route 466 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  CA 58 west of Bakersfield to Santa Margarita was carved out of what was part of CA 178.  The change from CA 178 to CA 58 west of Bakersfield to Santa Margarita can be ob…

California State Route 225; the Zombie Highway of Santa Barbara and presently shortest in California

This past month I visited the Santa Barbara Area and drove the many short State Highways located there.  The shortest and the strangest is the 0.081 mile California State Route 225.


As noted above CA 225 is presently only 0.081 miles in length and is located completely on Castillo Street in Santa Barbara between Montecito Street and US 101/CA 1.  Fortunately the Caltrans Post Mile Tool illustrates that CA 225 still exists despite almost being relinquished to death.



At present moment CA 225 is the shortest State Highway in California.  By the definition of actual field mileage the following State Highways are the five shortest in California:

1.  CA 225 at 0.081 miles
2.  CA 275 at 0.14 miles
3.  CA 283 at 0.36 miles
4.  CA 77 at 0.40 miles 
5.  CA 153/CA 265 at 0.50 miles each

The origin of CA 225 was back in 1933 when Legislative Route 150 was added to the State Highway system as a loop of US 101/LRN 2 between Santa Barbara east to near Montecito according to CAhighways.org.  As orig…

California State Route 118

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 118 from Ventura County east into Los Angeles County.


CA 118 is a major 47 mile State Highway which begins in the City in Ventura County and traverses east into Los Angeles County by way of Simi Valley and Santa Susana Pass.  From Santa Susana Pass CA 118 continues eastward through San Fernando Valley within the City of Los Angeles and terminates at Interstate 210.  CA 118 contains within it's right-of-way some of the most historic highway corridors in California history.

The precursor route of CA 118 was Legislative Route Number 9 which was first added to the State Highway System during the First State Highway Bond Act of 1909.  The original definition of LRN 9 was from San Bernardino westward to LRN 4 in San Fernando. LRN 9 was extended westward to LRN 2 near Montalvo (modern day Ventura) in 1933.

In a August 1934 Department of Public Works Guide the Signed State Highways were announced.  CA 118 was announced to be a…