“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Clark County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Mile Markers

The Historic National Road in Ohio

Mile Markers Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Thomas P. Martin, June 8, 2021
1. Mile Markers Marker
Inscription.  The Act of Congress in 1806, which authorized the construction of the National Road, required that mile markers be placed at regular intervals. These reference points reassured travelers that they were following the correct route. They also indicated the distance traveled and the distance to a destination.

The use of mile markers began in the Roman Empire with stone obelisks. The first Roman mile markers appeared in the fourth century B.C. on the Empire's legendary Appian Way, the road from Rome to Brindisi.

National Road mile markers were set at 1 mile intervals along the north side of the Road. Each state's mile markers were a different design, but all displayed the same information. Ohio's markers were square with round heads, made of an early form of concrete, sandstone, or limestone, while in Pennsylvania they were obelisks made of cast iron.

Ohio's 5-foot tall markers were set 2 feet deep into the ground with 3 feet exposed. Each marker indicated the distance to Cumberland, Maryland, where the Road begins, and the name and mileage to the nearest cities and villages, for east and westbound travelers.

Mile Markers Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Thomas P. Martin, June 8, 2021
2. Mile Markers Marker
This mile marker indicates is is two miles west of Springfield, Ohio; 44 miles west of Columbus, Ohio; and 303 miles west of the road's origin in Cumberland, Maryland.
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the letters or numerals were painted or carved, markers followed a standard pattern of showing at the top the number of miles from the beginning of the National Road in Cumberland, Maryland. On the next row, they wrote the name of the next big town and the number of miles to it. On the left side of the marker, it would show eastbound travelers the next big town to the east. On the right side, it would show westbound travelers the next big town to the west and the number of miles to go. On the lowest level, there was usually an initial and a small number. This indicated the nearest town. It did not need to be spelled out, because most people in the vicinity would recognize it from the initial.

By the 1920s, a uniform highway numbering system with standardized road signs replaced the old mile markers, but many remain along the Road. See how many you can identify.

Left: In the picture above is a mile marker which was located in Clark County and was placed 285 miles west of the National Road's beginning point in Cumberland, Maryland. It showed eastbound travelers that they still had 155 miles to go until they arrived in Wheeling, West Virginia, but only 27 miles to Columbus. For those headed west, they were 16 miles from Springfield. The "S 1” at the bottom on the left side indicates that Summerford was 1 mile away. The "B 2½” on the right
Closeup of mile marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Thomas P. Martin, June 23, 2021
3. Closeup of mile marker
told travelers that they were 2½ miles from Brighton.
Top right: The above mile marker is located in Muskingum County, 5 miles west of Zanesville. It is 3 miles east of Mount Sterling, which was abbreviated as "Mt S."
Bottom right: In the picture to the left is a mile marker located in Kirkersville in Licking County. It shows the distance for the eastbound traveler to two major cities: Wheeling was 106 miles away; Zanesville was 32 miles away. For westbound travelers, Columbus was 21 miles away. The nearest towns were "L. 3½” and "E. 4½". That meant Luray to the cast and Etna to the west.
Erected by The Ohio National Road Association, Inc.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the The Historic National Road series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1806.
Location. 39° 55.539′ N, 83° 49.96′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Ohio, in Clark County. Marker is on West Main Street west of South Isabella Street, on the left when traveling west. Marker is located in front of Pennsylvania House. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1311 West Main Street, Springfield OH 45504, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pennsylvania House / The National Road (here, next to this marker); The National Road
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(approx. half a mile away); Snyder Park (approx. half a mile away); Historic National Road (approx. half a mile away); Davey Moore Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Kenton's Stockade (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Rose City (approx. 0.8 miles away); Clark County Memorial (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 12, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 342 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 12, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   3. submitted on June 24, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 1, 2023