Historic Highways of America: The Cumberland Road
The National Road, in many places known as Route 40, was built between and to reach the western settlements. It was the first federally funded road in U. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson believed that a trans-Appalachian road was necessary for unifying the young country. In Congress authorized construction of the road and President Jefferson signed the act establishing the National Road.
It would connect Cumberland, Maryland to the Ohio River. In the first contract was awarded and the first 10 miles of road built. By the road was completed to Wheeling and mail coaches began using the road. By the s the federal government conveyed part of the road's responsibility to the states through which it runs. Tollgates and tollhouses were then built by the states, with the federal government taking responsibility for road repairs. As work on the road progressed a settlement pattern developed that is still visible.
Original towns and villages are found along the National Road, many barely touched by the passing of time. During the s popularity soared again. Travelers and drovers, westward bound, crowded the inns and taverns along the route.
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Huge Conestoga wagons hauled produce from frontier farms to the East Coast, returning with staples such as coffee and sugar for the western settlements. Thousands moved west in covered wagons and stagecoaches traveled the road keeping to regular schedules.
The National Road, America's First Major Highway
In the s, however, the railroads came and some of the excitement faded. In the road became part of the National Old Trails Road and its popularity returned in the s with the automobile. Federal Aid became available for improvements in the road to accommodate the automobile. In the road became part of US 40 as a coast-to-coast highway.
As the interstate system has grown throughout America, interest in the National Road again waned. However, now when we want to have a relaxing journey with some history thrown in, we again travel the National Road. David Barton. The War of Independence. John Fiske. The Declaration of Independence. Peter Roop. Four Great Americans. James Baldwin. Colonial Gothic: Gazetteer. Rogue Games. Historic Papers on the Causes of the Civil War. Eugenia Dunlap Potts. Benjamin Franklin. Edmund S. Archibald Henderson. A Social History of the American Negro. Works of Frederick Jackson Turner. Frederick Jackson Turner.
Railroads E P Alexander. Qoutations of Thomas Jefferson. Quotation Classics. Ulrich Bonnell Phillips. God, War, and Providence. James A. Subjects unto the Same King. Jenny Hale Pulsipher. Hunted Like a Wolf. Milton Meltzer. Kerry Walters. John Hancock. James Srodes. What Is the Declaration of Independence? Jerry Hoare. Thomas B. Tea Leaves.
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