Congress authorizes a survey to begin constructing the Cumberland Road, which began in Cumberland Maryland and stretched west. The Army Corp of Engineers did the survey and also did the construction which started in 1811. It took seven years to complete the road through the Appalachians to Wheeling, W. Virginia. Stagecoaches and other traffic filled the road and by 1850 the road, which had earned the name “The National Road”, had extended all the way west to Indianapolis.
In 1926, the road became part of U.S. 40, part of a coast-to-coast highway that started in Maryland and ended in California.
A drive along U.S. 40 reveals interesting historical architecture such as the “S” Bridge, so named because of the unique shaped, usually adapted to continue a path over a small stream, such as this one in Blaine, Ohio:
In the 1960s, the construction of Interstate 70 ran pretty parallel to U.S. 40 and left many of the small towns and small businesses now almost isolated. With the loss of major traffic, the small mom and pop businesses, diners, motels and others became small relics along an almost forgotten path that was once a major pipeline of traffic and commerce.
As a footnote to this story, here is my October 28th posting/blog about the Madonna of the Trail statues that were placed along The National Road:
CLICK HERE to go to the Madonna of the Trail article...