The Road that Built a Nation
". . . so many happy people, restless in the midst of abundance." —Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840.
Americans are an adventurous people. Frompast to present, they have used feet, horses,wagons, stagecoaches, canals, railroads,bicycles, automobiles, trucks and buses to"perpetually change their plans and abodes."
Centuries ago, George Washington dreamed ofa highway joining east and west. In 1806,Thomas Jefferson made that roadway a realitywhen he risked his Presidency by authorizing,"an Act to regulate the laying out and making[of] a road from Cumberland in the State ofMaryland to the State of Ohio."
The next generation built that "United StatesRoad," a thirty-foot wide, crushed stonethoroughfare that spanned rivers, traversedmountains and opened up America's westernfrontier to the Mississippi. Merchants, tradersand families from all over the world journeyedalong this route in their quest to claim land,expand markets and form new lives.
Today, you can trace that same path along theHistoric National Road. Discover the places,events and stories that shaped this nation. Tohave your own adventure, stop by any WelcomeCenter or local visitor center to speak to a travelcounselor and pick up a Historic National Roadmap-guide.
Built in the early 1800s, a paved highway west was America's first federal project. Much of the approximately 800 mile long National Road is still marked by historic milestones.
(photo caption) Are we there yet?
These early 20th century travelers speak to all ofus who at one time or another couldn't wait to getout of the car. Today, we have the luxury oftaking our modern interstates for granted. Butwho can't relate to those faces?