Cleveland to Charleston Concrete Highway
The “Concrete Highway,” one of the last untouched sections of the original U.S. Highway 11, officially joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
The unveiling of new U.S. 11 signs along what is also Charleston’s Market Street took place during the 50th anniversary celebration of the first movie filmed in Tennessee, “Wild River.”
Larry Williams, from the Horseless Carriage Association, said the highway has stood the test of time.
“I know it’s hard to get excited about an old piece of concrete,” Mr. Williams said. “But let’s remember, it’s a path that enriched our lives and carried our burdens.”
“From these humble beginnings came the interstates, themselves now 50 years old,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s hard to imagine that this quiet lane was once the grandest road around, the high-tech interstate of its time.”
Charleston Mayor Walter Goode said the highway connected Chattanooga to Bristol through East Tennessee.
“Communities along good roads were certain to have a boost in their economy and development,” he said. “That’s still true today.”
Mr. Goode, Mr. Williams and City Commissioners Larry Anderson and Donna McDermit unveiled the new street signs purchased by the city of Charleston.
* 1913: Chattanooga/Athens/Knoxville Highway Association proposes a concrete highway.
* 1914: Chattanooga Automobile Club, sponsored by the Dixie Highway Association, proposes a highway from Chicago to Tampa Bay.
* 1915: Bradley County Good Roads Club founded by businessman George Hardwick.
* 1922: Federal funds became available for Chattanooga/Charleston link.
* 1927: Chattanooga/Charleston segment completed.
* 1940: U.S. Highway 11 rerouted through Charleston.
**Chattanooga Times Free Press