Welcome to the National Road
The National road crosses six states from Baltimore, Maryland to East St. Louis,
Illinois. The road fulfilled the dreams of George Washington and Thomas
Jefferson to build an all-weather route across the Allegheny Mountains to connect
the Eastern Seaboard with the Midwest. The Road was conceived by Albert
Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson, and was authorized by
Congress in 1806. The Road was the nation's first federally funded interstate
highway and opened the West for the movement of people and goods.
Construction began in 1811 in Cumberland, Maryland, extending an earlier route
from Baltimore. By 1818 the Road reached the Ohio River, by 1833 it was
completed to Columbus, Ohio, and in 1850 it extended west to Vandalia, Illinois
The National road was an engineering marvel. Graceful stone arch bridges cross
streams and rivers. Inns and taverns were built to meet the needs of travelers.
Many of the bridges and buildings that characterized the early days of the road can
still be found in towns along the Road today.
Much of the historic National Road is still part of U.S. Route 40.
Several segments of the original Road are no longer used as highways
but can be explored. The longest section of the National Road is
found in Ohio, covering 227 miles from Bridgeport on the east to the
Indiana state line on the west. (seal)
Use the Official Ohio Historic National road signs to
follow the National Road across Ohio.
The Road That Helped Build The Nation
An All American Road - National Scenic Byway
(milestone pic) (booklet cover pic)
the generous members of the Ohio National Road Association
presented by the Ohio National Road Association, Inc.