Edward Edison Smith was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and arrived in Muskingum
County about the same time as his neighbor, Uzal Headley. Smith was a farmer who built
a log house near this site and, after the National Road reached Zanesville in 1829, began
building a seven-room sandstone tavern (the right "half" of the present building), which he
completed in 1830. The sandstone was quarried from a nearby cliff resulting in the house
sometimes being referred to as Cliff Rock House. While the nearby Headley Inn served as an
inn and tavern, the Smith House more often offered hospitality to drovers (those "driving"
livestock on the hoof to market) and teamsters hauling cargo in Conestoga wagons.
The Edward Smith House became a popular stopover for those travelers on the National Road,
and in the 1850's Smith realized the need for additional space. In 1860 his son Alexander completed an addition against the west wall of the original house, doubling its size to the current 16 rooms. When railroads became the transportation of choice, the Smith House ceased to function as an inn and eventually became the private residence of E.B. and Gladys Smith Howard, Edward Smith's great-granddaughter. The 20th century and the advent of the automobile spawned regional and national highway improvements. Through it
all, the Smith House and the neighboring Headley Inn have endured while continuing in their roles as historic landmarks and sentinels along America's first federal highway.