Historic National Road

Historic National Road (HM2KPR)

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N 39° 49.821', W 84° 52.332'

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The Road That Built the Nation

Side A
Standing Tall
Dedicated on October 28, 1928, this Madonna statue is a tribute to the pioneering
spirit of women.

In 1911 the Daughters of the American Revolution proposed a "model highway" from
Washington, DC, to Los Angeles, California. A year later the National Old Trails
Highway Association was established. Linking the National Road with the Santa Fe
Trail, the proposed route was one of many ambitious "ocean to ocean" highway
plans to be promoted for automobile travel. Twelve statues, such as the one before
you, marked the proposed route from Bethesda, Maryland, to Upland, California.

The Evolving Role of Women
As the Women's Movement matured during the 19th century, women's
roles evolved from wife, mother, and caregiver to advocate, promoter,
and adventurer. Women traded in their Conestoga wagons and bonnets
for motorcars, dust jackets, and goggles. Before they could speed
down the highway, however, the rutted and muddy paths needed to
be reconstructed and paved.

The Good Roads Movement
Less than 10 percent of the country's roads were paved in the 1890's.
The invention of modern tires in 1885 and advocacy of bicyclists,
motorists, farmers, and business owners for smoother surfaces to
travel on resulted in the "Good Roads

Movement." Women saw that
"good roads" had potential beyond transportation. Improved roads
provided access to better education, jobs, and culture—-even better
nutrition, through improved access to fresher produce. Increasingly,
women became effective advocates for the creatin of a national
network of paved, interconnected roadways.

Side B
Make History, Drive It

The Auto Age
The automobile revived the National Road in the 1920s. As cars and trucks took to the road, the federal government established a nationwide network of paved, all-weather highways.
The old National Road was one of the first routes designated under the new federal highway numbering system in 1926—US Route 40, a transcontinental highway from Atlantic City, NJ, to San Francisco, CA. Once again, the road gave rise to new opportunities. Like the blacksmith shops and taverns of the past, gas stations, diners, and motels ushered in a new era of prosperity. Until the 1970s, with the completion of Interstate 70, US 40 was one of the country's primary east-west routes.

The Modern Road
The National Road has played a significant role in the development of the United States. To honor this distinction, in 2002 the US Secretary of Transportation designated the Historic National Road from Maryland to Illinois an All-American Road. Indiana is actively

working to preserve its segment of the road, structures, and landscapes along this historic corridor. Today the road continues to beckon travelers like you as it has for more than 200 years. Welcome to Indiana!

New and Improved
Soon after the turn of the 20th century, Americans abandoned their horses, carts, and interurban rail cars for the independence afforded by the automobile. Old rutted roads like the National Road were paved, new services established, and the modern transportation era begn.

Where Service Never Stops
The modern National Road, US Route 40, provided essential services for travelers around the clock.

National Road Landmark
Restored by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, the 1841 Huddleston Farmhouse in Cambridge City, a popular stopping place for supplies on the old road, continues to welcome visitors along the National Road.

The Modern Conestoga Wagon
The H&C Studebaker blacksmith shop became the Studebaker Manufacturing Company in 1868. Indiana-based Studebaker would eventually become the largest wagon manufacturer in the world. Studebaker introduced an electric car in 1902 and a gasoline powered car in 1904, becoming the only manufacturer to successfully make the transition from horse-drawn to gasoline-powered vehicles.
Year Placed2012
Placed By Indiana National Road Association
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 at 8:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 682084 N 4411094
Decimal Degrees39.83035000, -84.87220000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 49.821', W 84° 52.332'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 49' 49.26" N, 84° 52' 19.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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