"Open a wide door, and make a smooth way for the produce of that Country to pass to our Markets." George Washington, 1784
America's founders looked west for the future success of the new country. The United States needed good roads and canals to open up frontier settlements. Baltimore was one of the first eastern cities to build a "smooth way" to the interior. Soon after 1800, this "Great Western Turnpike" became the first leg of a National Road that eventually reached St. Louis.
By the mid 1830s, western farmers were shipping their crops and goods to Baltimore on the National Road. There, local merchants used the growing port of Baltimore to reach a world market. The result was a revolution in "community-based" agriculture that soonbecame national and international. Livestock, grains, fruits and vegetables were linked to customers by an ever improving transportation system. Freight wagons were followed by the railroad, then the automobile. Today's ever present eighteen-wheeled trucks are directdescendants of the Conestoga Wagons pulled by six-horse teams on the old National Road.