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Photo: NC 53 at US 258/NC 24 before the Jacksonville Bypass was built and before NC 53 was extended (Adam Froehlig)
|N.C. 53 114 miles|
|The Road:||Begins at NC 24-210 East Fayetteville (Cumberland County) and ends at US 258/NC 24Jacksonville (Onslow County).||Towns and Attractions:||Cumberland Co.: East Fayetteville,
Bladen Co.: Bladen Lakes State Forest, Singletary Lake State Park
Pender Co.: Burgaw
Onslow Co.: Jacksonville
NC 53 was born about 1923 as a new state route, running from NC 50 (current old US 1 split from US 15-501, NC 87) north of Sanford along US 15-501/NC 87 and then Old Sanford Rd to either NC 54 (Moncure-Pittsboro Rd) or was duplexed with NC 54 (which was there first) to NC 75 (current courthouse square) Pittsboro.
In 1924, NC 53 was extended south with NC 50 into Sanford, then replaced a briefly existent NC 241 using US 421 to Lee St to Jonesboro Heights, then NC 78 east to NC 87 which it followed southeast (but used loop roads Harvey Faulk Rd; Walker Rd through Swann; Seawell Rosser Rd through Olivia; "Old NC 87" through Pineview; Main St through Spring Lake) to the Fort Bragg area. NC 53 then used today's NC 24 to Fayetteville where it used Fort Bragg Rd and ending at NC 24 (now just where Morganton, Hay, and Broadfoot Ave all come together).
In 1928, NC 53 north was truncated to US 1/NC 50 Sanford or possibly NC 60 Jonesboro at the current US 421/NC 42-78 jct. Sanford to PIttsboro became part of an extended NC 75.
In 1933, NC 53 was extended east with NC 24 along Hay St/Person St/Clinton Rd through Fayetteville, then southeast as new routing to US 701/NC 23-201 near Elizabethtown.
In late 1934, NC 53 was extended again, receiving its routing through Burgaw and ending at US 258/NC 24 near Jacksonville. This was a replacement for NC 201.
In Nov 2010 (NCDOT), NC 53 was extended east along NC 24 Bypass east across Jacksonville, then northwest along Western Blvd, across US 17 and ending at SR 1308 Gum Branch Rd. I guess they didn't want to wait for the Northwest Loop (currently unfunded) to be built to put NC 53 on Western Blvd.
NC 53 is one of the lonelier roads out there, never straying far from the Cape Fear River and its associated swamps.
I used to use NC 53 from I-40 eastward as part of an elaborate Wilmington Bypass in the early 90s.