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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hawkins County Lee Highway Milestone Marker

Hawkins County Lee Highway Milestone Marker

Back in the earliest days of highways before the routes had numbers, the most important auto trails had names and one of the most important cross country route was the Lee Highway which connected Washington DC to San Diego. In many places along the Lee Highway (and at five places in Tennessee), there were Zero Milestone markers such as the one here. With such a marker, brochures and other place of interest could say how far they were from the zero milestone to help motorists find them. Few of these markers 90 year old markers still exist as they are obsolete as there are newer ways to mark distance, roadway expansion and widening cause them to be removed, and sometimes they are stolen as people wish to have a piece of roadside history.

Fortunately, the Hawkins County marker still exists as it is located on the east side of Rogersville at another obsolete highway feature, the Roadside Park. On the front of the marker is a plaque depicting an old stagecoach wagon. This marker had been stolen but was recently replaced. The small stone in front of it is a common USGS Benchmark from 1934. On the top of the marker is a copper compass. On the east side are the words: "To Commemorate John Carter, Sturdy pioneer, first merchant, after whom this valley is named." On the back, it says "This monument marks the route of the old East Tennessee Stagecoach line 1825-1855." On the west side, it says "To Commemorate Benjamin Hawkins of North Carolina, Senator of the United States, after whom this county is named."

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