Before the Europeans, only Indian trails led through virgin forests that once stretched beyond the horizon. About 1750 Nemacolin, a Delaware Indian, blazed a trail past here for the Ohio Company. Four years later, Virginia militia under Lt. Col. George Washington cut a narrow "road" through this wilderness from present-day Cumberland, Maryland to beyond Fort Necessity.
In 1755, Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock's British army widened Washington's road and extended it to the Monongahela River. Braddock's Road was an amazing engineering feat. Hundreds of men cut a 12-foot-wide swath through the forest for Braddock's 2,400 soldiers, 13 cannons, about 100 wagons, and a herd of cattle. After the French and Indian War, this road became the main route west until the adjacent National Road reached the Ohio River in 1818.