On our last Lowcountry Unfiltered kayaking trip on the Savannah River Larry Easler and I drove back along Highway 301. We were amazed at the number of old motels and abandoned tourist spots along the way. I knew it had to have once been a major thoroughfare, now bypassed by I-95, but I wanted to know more about it. What was its history? How did this highway through one of the most desolate parts of South Carolina become such a major route? The answer turned out to be much more interesting than I could have possibly imagined.
In a previous post I wrote about the old auto trails that predated the US Highway System, and the business associations that promoted these routes and the tourist amenities along them. Here’s the story about how Highway 301 became known as The Tobacco Trail, one of the most important north-south routes along the Eastern Seaboard.