It was a 1,300 mile road. It was constructed on order of King Charles II of England and was built between 1650 and 1735. Long before there was a United States it ran through his colonies and it ran through New Jersey.

Sure there were little paths and dirt roads. But this was a road as in what we’d call a highway today, eventually running all the way from Massachusetts to South Carolina, long before the concept of automobiles was here.

Only In Your State calls it the oldest road in America.


It was called The King’s Highway. And yes, it indeed ran through New Jersey. Exactly where might surprise you.

At first it was used by post riders to deliver mail. Later it was smoothed and widened so that stagecoaches and horse-drawn wagons could travel it. Basically it was the first concept of what would be the interstate highway system.

Eventually a real highway system grew. And much of The King’s Highway became Route 1. Yes, Route 1 is part of the oldest highway in the United States. (Could that explain the smell of Route 1 between Elizabeth and Carteret?)

Townsquare Media photo illustration (Canva file)
Townsquare Media photo illustration (Canva file)

The King’s Highway once ran through towns like Newark, Elizabeth, Rahway, Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, Princeton, Lawrenceville, Trenton, Bordentown and beyond. The highways that took over were not built perfectly on top of it in all sections but there are still whole stretches that were.

For example, along Route 206 between mile markers 48.30 and 53.90 and also along New Jersey Route 27 from mile marker 0.0 to mile marker 4.10 is as good as a ride on The King’s Highway.

Those areas are known as The King’s Highway Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The stretch includes the Kingston Bridge which was built in 1798 to replace one George Washington’s troops strategically destroyed to prevent British advances.

Maybe none of this helps when you’re stuck on it in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but if you ever go on “Jeopardy!” and it comes up, hey, you’re all set.

Car queue in the bad traffic road

LOOK: Most dangerous states to drive in

Stacker used the Federal Highway Administration's 2020 Highway Statistics report to rank states by the fatalities per billion miles traveled. 

NJ's Route 22 circa 1984 — Do you recognize these businesses?

Thanks to a new music video for a song called "Twenty Two" by the band Jacques Le Coque, some great footage has surfaced of the NJ portion of U.S. 22, a vital artery through Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Union, and Essex counties.

LOOK: 25 must-visit hidden gems from across the US

From secret gardens to underground caves, Stacker compiled a list of 25 must-visit hidden gems from across the United States using travel guides, news articles, and company websites.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM