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Hancock in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The National Road

The Road that Built a Nation

 
 
The National Road Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 5, 2006
1. The National Road Marker
Inscription.  
“. . . so many happy people, restless in the midst of abundance.” —Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840.

Americans are an adventurous people. From past to present, they have used feet, horses, wagons, stagecoaches, canals, railroads, bicycles, automobiles, trucks and buses to “perpetually change their plans and abodes.”

Centuries ago, George Washington dreamed of a highway joining east and west. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson made that roadway a reality when he risked his Presidency by authorizing, “an Act to regulate the laying out and making [of] a road from Cumberland in the State of Maryland to the State of Ohio.”

The next generation built that “United States Road,” a thirty-foot wide, crushed stone thoroughfare that spanned rivers, traversed mountains and opened up America’s western frontier to the Mississippi. Merchants, traders and families from all over the world journeyed along this route in their quest to claim land, expand markets and form new lives.

Today, you can trace that same path along the Historic National Road.
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Discover the places, events and stories that shaped this nation. To have your own adventure, stop by any Welcome Center or local visitor center to speak to a travel counselor and pick up a Historic National Road map-guide.

(sidebar) Built in the early 1800s, a paved highway west was America’s first federal project. Much of the approximately 800 mile long National Road is still marked by historic milestones.

(photo caption) Are we there yet? These early 20th century travelers speak to all of us who at one time or another couldn’t wait to get out of the car. Today, we have the luxury of taking our modern interstates for granted. But who can’t relate to those faces?
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #03 Thomas Jefferson, and the The Historic National Road series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1840.
 
Location. Marker has been reported permanently removed. It was located near 39° 41.901′ N, 78° 10.682′ W. Marker was in Hancock, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker was on Church Street south of Main Street (Maryland Route 144), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Hancock MD 21750, United States of America.

We have
Bench, Marker and Merchant Directory image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 5, 2006
2. Bench, Marker and Merchant Directory
Photographer is standing on the Western Maryland Rail Trail. The C&O Canal is out of frame on the left.
been informed that this sign or monument is no longer there and will not be replaced. This page is an archival view of what was.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Hancock (here, next to this marker); Gettysburg Campaign (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Hancock (a few steps from this marker); St. Thomas Episcopal Church (a few steps from this marker); Hancock Station (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hancock.
 
Regarding The National Road. Boats, trains, and stagecoaches. Since 1812 the National Road has run through Hancock on Main Street. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal flowed a block south from 1849 to 1938. Between them was the Western Maryland Railroad from 1902 to 1987.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 23, 2007. This page has been viewed 1,799 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 23, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Feb. 28, 2024