The end of the eighteenth century saw Virginia change from an agriculture-based society to one of urban centers. Once British trade restrictions were removed after the War of 1812, river ports such as Alexandria, Fredericksburg, and Richmond began to prosper. With the influx of new groups of immigrants from the North, western Virginia communities such as Staunton and Lexington began to grow.
this rapid growth created the need for improvement of the state's transportation infrastructure. The state-funded Board of Public Works cooperated with private companies to construct a network of canals, turnpikes, railroads, and navigable rivers to provide local farmers and merchants access to markets.
Turnpikes were among the first transportation routes based upon the "Toll Pike" system in England. Under this system, private regional turnpike authorities borrowed money to build roads and erect tollhouses with the understanding that the road would become public once the debt was paid. The General Turnpike Law of 1817 regulated the width and surface of toll roads, toll rates, and distances between tollhouses. The law stated that each company should erect a tollhouse at a distance of no less than every five miles. Most tollhouses were spaced at ten mile intervals or in areas difficult to avoid, such as river crossings, country stores, or mountain gaps.
The Warm Springs area was served by five turnpikes during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the Jackson River Turnpike, the War Springs-Huntersville-Romney Turnpike, the Warm Springs to Bull Pasture Turnpike, the Warm Springs and Harrisonburg Turnpike, and the Warm Springs Mountain Turnpike, which closely followed the course of modern-day Route 39.
The nearby Jackson River Turnpike originally ran through the golf course of the Homestead resort in Hot Springs. The Hot Springs Company eventually acquired the stock and assets of the Jackson River Turnpike and continued to collect tolls. By the early twentieth century, the turnpike was operating at a large deficit and in the early 1920s the turnpike was "graciously presented to the state".