The Historic National Road in Ohio
—Transportation Crossroad —
Where the Water Met the Road
While the citizens of St. Clairsville, in eastern Ohio, celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Road on July 4, 1825, construction began on the Ohio & Erie Canal on the same day at Licking Summit (now Heath, Licking County), Just south of Licking Summit, the National Road and the Canal were to intersect. A group of investors, recognizing the importance of the site, purchased land for the new town of Hebron. By the fall of 1825 the businessmen began advertising the sale of town lots. The National Road was completed to Hebron in 1832. Within a year, the community consisted of about twenty houses, five stores, and numerous industries including tanneries, sawmills, warehouses, and distilleries.
Few communities in the nation could boast of being the home of two such important corridors of travel and commerce. The Canal carried north-south freight and passenger traffic from 1827 to 1861, while the National Road was a mainstay of east-west transportation for much of the same era. However, by the end of the Civil War, the faster and more efficient railroads put the Road and Canal into decline.