This sleepy little rural
town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked. Located miles
from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court
House in many ways is easily forgotten. However, this tiny town of
slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.
In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing
of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.
The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and
the first in public for Randolph. Randolph would go on to serve in
the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia. Henry,
who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte
County at the time of the debate, died three months later.
Charlotte Court House is not the original name
of the town. Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed
by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph
debate), Smithfield, and finally…
While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County. Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek. Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst. CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.
After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41. I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B. Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.
Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles. T…
After leaving Barstow via Old Highway 58 my next destination was in Death Valley. To access Death Valley from rural San Bernardino County required a trek on north on Interstate 15 to California State Route 127 which becomes Nevada State Route 373 at the state line.
Along I-15 I encountered the road sign oddity that is Zzyzx Road about eight miles south of Baker. Zzyzx Road is a four mile road that used to go to the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa. The spa was founded in the 1940s and the owner made up the name "Zzyzx" to claim it was the last word in the English Language. The spa has been shut down since the 1970s and is now part of a Desert Studies Center for California State University.
The southern terminus of CA 127 in Baker is located at I-15 exit 246. CA 127 is a 91 mile north/south highway which runs to the Nevada State Line in Inyo County. CA 127 is called Death Valley Road from I-15 northward. South of CA 127 the road continues as Kelbaker Road which c…