Historic National Road
The Road That Built the Nation
An Important Road
The National Road is a true American icon, conceived by George Washington, authorized by Thomas Jefferson, and traveled by Abraham Lincoln.
In 1806 construction of the National Road was approved by the US Congress to open the western interior of a young nation to commerce and settlement. It was America’s first federally funded interstate highway, extending from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling on the Ohio River. The road was so important that Congress authorized its extension into Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois in 1824 to link the capitals of the new states. The road reached Indiana in 1827.
An Early Road of Opportunity
During its heyday in Indiana (1830-1850), travelers flooded the National Road. It provided a convenient route to markets both east and west. Blacksmith shops and taverns sprung up along the road to serve the diversity of travelers. Stagecoaches bringing letters, newspapers, and cash supported the booming economy and carried the correspondence of happy accomplishments, births, and deaths.
The trip was often unpleasant--- wagon axles deep in mud, clothes
As faster and more reliable transportation options became available with the expansion of the nation’s rail and canal networks in the 1850’s, road traffic decreased. Like many other roads, the National Road fell into a state of disrepair. Although it was no longer the great road west, the legacy of the road would not soon be forgotten.
The Auto Age
The automobile revived the National Road in the 1920s. As cars and trucks took to the road, the federal government established a nationwide network of paved, all-weather highways. The old National Road was one of the first routes designated under the new federal highway numbering system in 1926 — US Route 40, a transcontinental highway from Atlantic City, NJ, to San Francisco, CA. Once again, the road gave rise to new opportunities. Like the blacksmith shops and taverns of the past, gas stations, diners, and motels ushered in a new era of prosperity. Until the 1970s, with the completion of Interstate 70, US 40 was one of the country's primary east-west routes.
The Modern Road
The National Road has played a significant role in the development of the United States. To honor this distinction, in 2002 the US Secretary
New and Improved
Soon after the turn of the 20th century, Americans abandoned their horses, carts, and interurban rail cars for the independence afforded by the automobile. Old rutted roads like the National Road were paved, new services established, and the modern transportation era began.
Where Service Never Stops
The modern National Road, US Route 40, provided essential services for travelers around the clock.
National Road Landmark
Restored by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, the 1841 Huddleston Farmhouse in Cambridge City, a popular stopping place for supplies on the old road, continues to welcome visitors along the National Road.
The Modern Conestoga Wagon
The H&C Studebaker blacksmith shop became the Studebaker Manufacturing Company in 1868. Indiana-based Studebaker would eventually become the largest wagon manufacturer in the world. Studebaker introduced an electric car in 1902 and a gasoline powered car in 1904, becoming the only manufacturer to successfully make
Erected 2012 by Indiana National Road Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the The Historic National Road series list.
Location. 39° 49.946′ N, 84° 49.55′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Indiana, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection of Old National Road (U.S. 40) and Industrial Parkway, on the left when traveling west on Old National Road. The marker is in front of the Old National Road Welcome Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5701 National Rd E, Richmond IN 47374, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. New Paris (approx. 2.1 miles away in Ohio); New Paris Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.2 miles away in Ohio); Madonna of the Trail (approx. 2½ miles away); a different marker also named Historic National Road (approx. 2½ miles away); a different marker also named Madonna of the Trail (approx. 2½ miles away); The First Toll Gate (approx. 2½ miles away); Camp Wayne (approx. 3.4 miles away); Welcome to the National Road (approx. 3½ miles away in Ohio). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 11, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 10, 2019, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 87 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 10, 2019, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.