Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elm Grove in Ohio County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

The Madonna of the Trail

 
 
Madonna of the Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 27, 2006
1. Madonna of the Trail Marker
Inscription.  The statue before you was created as a tribute to the pioneer women who braved the uncertainties of the great journey west. The Madonna memorials were a project of the Daughters of the American Revolution and were dedicated between 1926 and 1929. The monument was conceived by Arlene B. Moss of St. Louis, Missouri and sculpted by August Leimbach. Earlier plans included the idea of placing over 3000 mile markers along the entire length of U.S. 40. By 1924, the plans had evolved to that of placing a single monument in each of the states through were the road passed.

A total of 12 statues were placed along the route of the National Road. At that time, the route known as the National Road was a transcontinental highway, sometimes called the National Old Trails Road. It included the original section
This and the National Pike Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 27, 2006
2. This and the National Pike Markers
Click or scan to see
this page online
of federal highway, identified today as he Historic National Road, and the later extensions encompassed in what we know today as U.S. 40.

This specific monument was dedicated on July 7th, 1926, the first being in Ohio just 3 days earlier on July 4th. The work of creating and placing the statues was done in cooperation with the National Old Trails Road Association. The Association, with its president, Harry S. Truman, later U.S. President, provided for the cost of erecting the monuments.

All of the Madonnas are identical. They were cast in an amalgam of crushed granite, stone, cement and lead ore known as “algonite”. A primary ingredient was a pinkish Missouri granite.

The statue is 10 feet tall and sits on a 6 foot base. An additional 2 foot foundation makes the monument 18 feet tall, weighing over 17 tons.

Dedication inscriptions are carved into the base. The text on the inscriptions varies with the site.

The original National Road extended from Cumberland, MD to Vandalia, IL. Often referred
Madonna of the Trail Monument image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 27, 2006
3. Madonna of the Trail Monument
View of the monument from this marker.
to as the Cumberland Road, it was constructed between 1811 and 1839, with an interruption in work due to the War of 1812. The road reached Wheeling in 1818. In 2002, the original road, with the addition of sections from Baltimore to Cumberland, MD and from Vandalia to East St. Louis, IL, was designated as an All American Road. This is the Historic National Road of today.

“We must not allow our past to slip away from us, but talk to our history, teach our history and live surrounded by its memorials.” —Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton, Nebraska DAR – 1909.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicRoads & VehiclesSettlements & SettlersWomen. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #33 Harry S. Truman, the Madonnas of the Trail, and the The Historic National Road series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1889.
 
Location. 40° 3.343′ N, 80° 40.158′ 
The Monument—A Marker in Its Own Right—And Three Other Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 27, 2006
4. The Monument—A Marker in Its Own Right—And Three Other Markers
W. Marker is in Elm Grove, West Virginia, in Ohio County. Marker is on National Road (U.S. 40) east of Wheeling Park Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wheeling WV 26003, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The National Pike (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Madonna of the Trail (a few steps from this marker); Sara Lucy Bagby (a few steps from this marker); Joseph Thoburn (a few steps from this marker); Jesse Lee Reno (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elm Grove.
 
More about this marker. This interpretative panel is one of “The Historic National Road in West Virginia — The road that built the nation” markers.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
The Madonna of the Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, August 31, 2005
5. The Madonna of the Trail Marker
The Madonna of the Trail image. Click for full size.
6. The Madonna of the Trail
Close-up of photo on marker
The Madonna of the Trail Modeled image. Click for full size.
7. The Madonna of the Trail Modeled
The finished wax model of the Madonna of the Trail statue - pictured with August Leimebach, the Artist, and Mrs. John Trigg Moss of the DAR - 1927
Close-up of photo on marker
The Madonnas of the Trail Map image. Click for full size.
8. The Madonnas of the Trail Map
Close-up of photo on marker
The National Road in West Virginia image. Click for full size.
9. The National Road in West Virginia
You-Are-Here map on the marker.
The Madonna of the Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, May 27, 2007
10. The Madonna of the Trail
To the Pioneer Mothers... image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, August 31, 2005
11. To the Pioneer Mothers...
To the pioneer mothers of our mountain state whose courage, optimism, love and sacrifice made possible the national highway that united the east and west -- inscription on the Madonna of the Trail Monument.
By the Authority of the United States Government... image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Allen C. Browne, August 31, 2005
12. By the Authority of the United States Government...
By the authority of the United States Government and chiefly through the statesmanship of Henry Clay, this road was made possible in 1806. -- inscription on the Madonna of the Trail Monument.
The Madonna of the Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Janice Browne
13. The Madonna of the Trail
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 4, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 29, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,400 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 29, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on April 8, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   10. submitted on April 9, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   11, 12, 13. submitted on April 8, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Jul. 5, 2022