A highway is defined as a major and significant, well-constructed road that is capable of carrying reasonably heavy to extremely heavy traffic. Highways are roadways that have a higher speed limit than other roads. They are broader and usually have multiple lanes for traffic. But highways can also be two-lane roads with wider shoulders.
King’s Highway was built from 1650 to 1735 decades before the United States became a country, making it the oldest road in America. The Texas Department of Transportation notes Kings Highway as the oldest highway in the United States. The Village Museum at McClellanville, South Carolina recognizes Kings Highway as America's oldest road.
The entire length of The King’s Highway did not become a continuous wagon road until about 1735. Incorporating the Boston Post Road (opened in 1673), the route traveled over 1,300 miles, from Boston, Massachusetts to Charles Town, South Carolina.
King’s Highway was the first route to completely link the 13 colonies together with one another; however it was not the most popular and soon after construction, it was not the only route available. The road was originally a Native American footpath that was widened and improved by the colonists in the 1600s. It became an important trade route, connecting the New England colonies with New York City and the southern colonies.
Along the route, there are numerous communities today with a King Street, King’s Road, or King Avenue, all remaining from the days when it was called the King’s Highway. In 1735, it was basically a trail. By 1750 the entire road was in place. The road's 1,300 miles (2,100 km) connected Charleston, South Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts. Later, it would be extended to Savannah, Georgia.
The King’s Highway was the most important road in colonial America and served as the major transportation route for the colonies. It played a vital role in the American Revolution as a military route and was used by George Washington's army during the war. It was also used by early colonists for trade and transportation of goods. Ironically it played a critical role in the independence of the U.S. from England after it was ordered to be built by Charles II of England.
A documentary film titled "Kings Highway Film" was created about the King’s Highway and many of the landmarks along the road. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers even wrote a song about King's Highway, titled "Kings Highway" with the chorus line "Lover I await the day, Good fortune comes our way, And we'll ride down the King's Highway, Yeah yeah."
Today, many sections of the King's Highway still exist and are still in use. Some of these sections have been renamed or re-routed over time, but they still retain their historical significance. In some areas, markers or monuments have been erected to commemorate the road's importance in American history. There are hundreds of historic places along the 1,300 mile highway. Throughout the highway, there are numerous communities today with a King Street, King’s Road, or King Avenue, all remaining from the days when it was called the King’s Highway.