Downtown in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Baltimore & Frederick-Town Turnpike
A Transportation Revolution started here
Maryland toll roads helped revolutionize American travel. The Baltimore and Frederick-Town Turnpike began with a tollgate, placed near this corner in 1807. For a few cents, you could head west on a “smooth” road that was the ancestor of today’s turnpikes. Private investors spent ten thousand dollars a mile to build crushed stone all-weather thoroughfares all the way to Cumberland. This road system became Baltimore’s link to the federal National Road and the American interior.
Early American roads were often described as “savage desolation.” They were old Indian paths filled with mud, tree stumps and bone-jarring gullies. It could take five days to travel a hundred miles. Four-horse teams, pulling heavy stagecoaches called “shakeguts” and “turtlebacks,” had to rest every few miles. The Baltimore and Frederick -Town Turnpike connected Baltimore’s deep-water port to the farm lands of the Ohio Valley, a combination that made Baltimore in 1830 the second largest city in America.
Erected by America's Byways.
Topics and series. This historical Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the The Historic National Road series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1807.
Location. 39° 17.361′ N, 76° 37.269′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in Downtown. Marker is on West Baltimore Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Classic Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Baltimore Equitable Society (about 300 feet away); Faust Brothers Building (about 400 feet away); Original Burial Place of Edgar Allan Poe (about 600 feet away); Among Family: Poe’s Original Burial Place (about 600 feet away); A Beloved General (about 600 feet away); Monumental Lives (about 600 feet away); Rev. Patrick Allison (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
More about this marker. This marker is affixed to the side of the Hippodrome Theater. This is in contrast to the all the other markers in the series, which are freestanding.
In the lower left is a painting captioned, Thanks to its port and its access to the National Road, Baltimore became the fastest growing city in America in the early 19th century.
On the lower right another illustration shows: Stagecoach passengers were tossed around inside coaches, soaked with rain, coated with mud and dust and exposed to cold winter weather on long tedious journeys. One beleaguered traveler complained that “one runs the risk of being thrown in a mud hole.” The National Road set the stage for more comfortable travel.
The background of the marker is "National Road at Fairview Inn" which is the standard for markers in this series. An elevation diagram of the national road is displayed on the bottom of the marker's face.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 24, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,880 times since then and 170 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 24, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.