“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boonsboro in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Town of Boonsboro

Maryland uses Macadam to Complete the National Road

Town of Boonsboro – Maryland uses Macadam to Complete the National Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 3, 2007
1. Town of Boonsboro – Maryland uses Macadam to Complete the National Road Marker
Inscription. The National Road from Baltimore to Cumberland was comprised of a series of privately funded turnpikes. By 1822, the road was complete except for the ten miles between Boonsboro and Hagerstown. In August of the year, under pressure from the state legislature, Boonsboro and Hagerstown bank directors formed the Boonsboro Turnpike Company to complete the final section. The National Road, from Baltimore to Cumberland, was often called the “Bank Road,” because the state government enlisted local banks to finance the building of this vital economic link with the west. Federal funding was used to build the road from Cumberland to Wheeling, and eventually to the Mississippi River.

The Turnpike Company used a revolutionary new paving system, invented by Scotsman John Loudon MacAdam. Its use here in 1823 was the first time that true macadam was used in the United States. After a century of macadam, concrete again revolutionized road surfaces in the early 1900s.

(Sidebar) First American Macadam Road. National Road workmen, often wearing goggles to protect their eyes, pounded stones into pieces with small hammers. Inspectors passed each stone through a three-inch ring to assure proper size. Other workers raked the stones level in three layers on a prepared roadbed. The surface was rolled smooth with
Boonsboro Historical Park. image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2007
2. Boonsboro Historical Park.
a cast-iron roller. The top layer, cemented with rain water, became as hard as concrete.
Erected by America’s Byways.
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Historic National Road marker series.
Location. 39° 30.902′ N, 77° 39.44′ W. Marker is in Boonsboro, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on North Main Street / Old National Road (Alternate U.S. 40), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located in Boonsboro Historical Park. Marker is in this post office area: Boonsboro MD 21713, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Washington Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Stonewall Jackson's Way (approx. 0.4 miles away); Boonsboro (approx. 0.4 miles away); The National Road (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 0.4 miles away); Cannon of Revolutionary War (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Boys from Boonsboro District (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Boonsboro.
More about this marker. The side bar has painting showing construction of a road using the macadam process • A picture of a steam roller has the caption: Making a “Macadamized” road became much more efficient with steam engines, used here to power rollers that flatten and compact the National Road not far from here, along South Mountain • A picture of a early 20th Century car has the caption: Dr. S. S. Davis drives the first automobile over the National Road in Boonsboro circa 1912.

Also see . . .  .pdf version of this marker. (Submitted on October 6, 2007, by Jakub Kaluzny of Rockville, Maryland.)
Additional comments.
1. Who/what organization is responsible for the content of these markers?
Great stuff. I’m curious as to who writes the material for these markers and what organization is responsible for vetting the material and installing them?

Peter Samuel
    — Submitted June 16, 2007, by Peter Samuel of Frederick, Maryland.

2. RE: Who/what organization is responsible for the content of these markers?
The National Scenic Byways Program appears to be responsible for these signs, which are produced in cooperation with state and local historical societies. They have a page for the press here: and this is a quote from their website at

“The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. Since 1992, the National Scenic Byways Program has funded almost 1,500 projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in 48 states.”
    — Submitted June 17, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.

Categories. Man-Made FeaturesRoads & Vehicles
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,823 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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