The Historic National Road in Ohio
— Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Travel Accommodations —
Built in 1836, the Buena Vista Tavern operated as an inn from 1849 to
1856, when it became a private residence. In 1930, it returned to
public life as a tourist camp with cabins or cottages located behind the
old inn. The Buena Vista Tavern is again serving the public as a retail
Inns and taverns were once common along the National Road. A
traveler could expect to find accommodations about every ten miles.
"Stage Houses" were inns where stage horses were stabled and
exchanged and passengers found room and board. Drover's inns
were generally simpler frame structures and were often located on
side streets of pike towns, parallel to the National Road, or on the
outskirts of town where they could accommodate pens for livestock.
The house and property across from the Buena Vista Tavern was used
by the drovers.
(Photograph w/caption) Rooms, camp and cabins
9 miles east of Springfield
on the National Old Trail
36 miles to Dayton 36 miles to Columbus
Above is the tavern as it appeared in the 1930's. The cabins are located behind the main
building. The gas pumps offered an additional convenience for the automobile tourist. As
the photo states, visitors had a choice of a room in the inn, a tourist cabin, or a campsite.
Early "auto tourists" slept in farmer's fields, using tents attached to their cars or small travel trailers. Public, and then private tourist camps developed in the 1910's and 1920's in response to the growing number of overnight travelers. Cabin camps were the earliest lodging specifically built to accommodate the National Road traveler. They were usually grouped in a row or crescent- shaped arraignment to provide nearby parking. Cottages
were larger, more durable, and were winterized for year- round use. Beginning in the 1940's, cottages were succeeded by motor courts and motels which integrated all the rooms under a continuous roofline. By the 1950's, many motor courts and motels added coffee shops and restaurants.
34 mi. west of Zanesville 20 mi. east of Columbus
Majestic Tourist Camp
gas, oil and eats
rooms, bath and cottages
Ladies rest room
Pataskela Ohio R.D.
National Road 1 mi. west of Kirkersville
courtesy Doug Smith collection
Pictured above is a typical tourist camp along the National Road.
The services and layout are similar to that of the Buena Vista Tavern
during the same period.
The Road That Helped Build the Nation
An All American Road- National Byway
presented by the National Road Association, Inc.
sponsored by the Phillip B. Johnson Family