Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
Carlton L. Belt Highway
Named after L. Carlton Belt, the captain of Bulloch County's Civil War military unit Company I “Toombs Guards,” the “Color Guard” of the 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry.
Charles Herty Memorial Highway (US Highway 80)
In 1916, the United States Congress passed the Federal Aid Road Act, in which $75 million was set aside to build new highways. The Bureau of Public Roads was created to oversee the new road network. The southern states proposed an east-west southern route, to be called the Dixie Overland Highway. Nicknamed “Broadway to America,” it ran from San Diego on the Pacific Ocean to Savannah on the Atlantic Ocean, although for a while it actually extended all the way to Tybee Island.
Parts of this road had several other names as it ran through Bulloch County: the Charles Herty Memorial Highway, and the Okefenokee Trail. U.S. 80 ran right through Statesboro. When officials complained that the curves on Statesboro’s North and East Main streets were too sharp, the city of Statesboro and Bulloch County quickly straightened out both.
The eastern entrance into Statesboro of U.S. 80 was at Lester’s Branch, and the western entrance of U.S. 80 came into the city at “Stricks Place.”
On Jan. 21, 1932, Gov. Richard Russell led a caravan of 50 cars that drove on the new highway from Savannah into Statesboro. Residents of Bulloch County could jump in their cars now and go virtually anywhere.
Okeefenokee Trail (US Highway 25)
What is known now as U.S. Highway 25 was one of the original Federal highways established by the United States Joint Board on Interstate Highways plan in 1925. Originally intended to be a regional highway, it soon connected Port Huron, Michigan with Augusta, Georgia, spanning 1,100 miles.
For much of this route, it assumed the name of the “Old Dixie Highway.”
In 1929, the state of Georgia extended the southern end of U.S. 25 to Hopeulikit. By 1936, U.S. 25 stretched all the way to Brunswick, where it merged with U.S. 17. In Bulloch County it also had the designation of Georgia Highway 47 and until U.S. Highway 301 was completed it was part of it was called the Tobacco Trail.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.