Historic National Road
The Road That Built the Nation
Dedicated on October 28, 1928, this Madonna statue is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of women.
In 1911 the Daughters of the American Revolution proposed a “model highway” from Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. A year later the National Old Trails Highway Association was established. Linking the National Road with the Santa Fe Trail, the proposed route was one of many ambitious “ocean to ocean” highway plans to be promoted for automobile travel. Twelve statues, such as the one before you, marked the proposed route from Bethesda, Maryland, to Upland, California.
The Evolving Role of Women
As the Women’s Movement matured during the 19th century, women’s roles evolved from wife, mother, and caregiver to advocate, promoter, and adventurer. Women traded in their Conestoga wagons and bonnets for motorcars, dust jackets, and goggles. Before they could speed down the highway, however, the rutted and muddy paths needed to be reconstructed and paved.
The Good Roads Movement
Less than 10 percent of the country’s roads were paved
Make History, Drive It
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
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 begn.
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
Erected 2012 by Indiana National Road Association.
Location. 39° 49.821′ N, 84° 52.332′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Indiana, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection of Old National Road (U.S. 40) and 22nd Street, on the right when traveling west on Old National Road. The marker is in Glenn Miller Park next to the Madonna of the Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2209 E Main St, Richmond IN 47374, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Madonna of the Trail (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Madonna of the Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Toll Gate (within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Wayne (approx. 0.9 miles away); Sailor Street (approx. one mile away); Mendenhall-Clay Debate/Confrontation (approx. 1.1 miles away); Richmond's Record Roots (approx. 1.1 miles away); Old Camp Wayne (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
Additional keywords. Old National Road Daughters of the American Revolution
Categories. Roads & Vehicles • Women •
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Credits. This page was last revised on September 11, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2019, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. This page has been viewed 21 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 10, 2019, by Rev. Ronald Irick of West Liberty, Ohio. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.