Talk:National Road

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  • 1818 Wheeling
  • 1839 Vandalia [1]

What railroad was finished in 1839? Nothing in the area! This 1848 map shows only proposed stuff. --SPUI (talk) 21:34, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Info from PRR Chronology[edit]

  • 11-20-1811 work began
  • 8-1-1818? completed Cumberland-Wheeling
  • 5-15-1820 Congress authorized extension to St. Louis
  • 5-4-1822 President Monroe vetoed bill for tolls
  • 1824 Boonesborough Turnpike opened Boonesboro-Hagerstown as last link Baltimore-Cumberland
  • 3-3-1825 Congress authorized extension to St. Louis (again?! maybe to Jefferson City?)
  • 5-3-1825 Congress altered route between Zanesville and Jefferson City to go via Columbus, Richmond, Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Vandalia
  • 1-18-1827 surveyor reported about Columbus-Indianapolis, new route Zanesville-Newark-Columbus and alternate via Springfield-Dayton-Eaton-Richmond
  • 2-1827 report on extension submitted to War Department
  • 4-25-1827 resurvey ordered Indianapolis-St. Louis
  • 1827 completed through Centerville, IN and Wayne County, IN
  • 2-1-1828 surveyed west of Indianapolis via Terre Haute and Vandalia, fixed to Terre Haute
  • 1-20-1829 surveyed Terre Haute-Vandalia-St. Louis, fixed to Vandalia
  • 1829 Congress appropriate money for both ways from Indianapolis
  • 5-31-1830 President Jackson vetoed federal money towards Washington Turnpike, Washington-Frederick
  • 3-9-1832 Senate passed bill to extend through OH-IN-IL
  • 1833 reached Columbus
  • 4-1-1835 eastern portion transferred to MD, PA and VA, became state or county maintained toll road
  • 3-4-1836 Ohio Board of Public Works replaced Canal Commissioners, takes over National Road maintenance
  • 5-25-1838 last Congressional appropriation
  • 1840 Congress voted against paying to finish, Henry Clay cast deciding vote
  • 11-5-1842 B&O opened to Cumberland, portage over National Road to Brownsville on Mon River is faster than Main Line of Public Works
  • 1845 another appropriation vetoed by President Polk
  • 4-7-1846 House defeats completion bill
  • 6-1848 poorly maintained, some stages and express wagons removed
  • 11-10-1849 used to transport locomotive for Columbus and Xenia Railroad
  • ca 1850 reached Vandalia
  • 5-24-1854 leased to private operator Bridgeport-Springfield, OH, reverted to state 1859

--SPUI (talk) 05:07, 25 October 2005 (UTC)


  • Maryland 35
  • Pennsylvania 90
  • West Virginia 15.7
  • Ohio 227.87
  • Indiana 156
  • Illinois ~95

total ~620 --SPUI (talk) 08:50, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

State highway numbers[edit]

US 40 relationship[edit]

I just removed the US40 thumb with caption "The National Road is now included as part of U.S. Highway 40" from the article. There's no source given, and I don't see how it can be a true statement as written. What would that mean, exactly? Perhaps something else could be stated, such as the US40 now follows approximately the route of the National Road, if that is true and if a source supporting it can be identified. doncram (talk) 00:00, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Start Date of the Cumberland Road[edit]

Please bear with me, I'm new to Wiki editing... The actual date construction started on the Cumberland Road, in Cumberland, is, at this point, debatable. There are two dates currently floating around, June 11, 1811 and Nov. 20, 1811. I have yet to see documentation to substantiate either of these dates. Contrary to the Nov. 20 date cited in the Wiki article, the June 11 date would seem more credible.

Henry McKinley was awarded the contract to build the first two-mile section of the road on May 8, 1811. It doesn't make sense McKinley would wait until the onset of winter to start the road... Especially since the preparation of the roadbed was done by hand. [2]

David Shriver's report to Congress of Jan. 14, 1812 states The leveling and shaping the bed of the road is complete (with a few exceptions) for about five miles; the stone for the pavement laid on a greater part thereof, and about four miles broken so as to be nearly complete. Such being the present state of the work, the probability is that the ten miles will be completed within the time limited by contract, (the 1st of August next.) [3]

Based on Shriver's report and the Nov. 20 start date, approx. five miles of road would have been completed in two months during the usually somewhat harsh winter months of Western MD. (Over Haystack Mountain).

Finally, the original sections of the road were not macadam. The McAdam system was first used in the US in 1822-23 in Boonsboro, MD, more than ten years after the start of construction on the Cumberland Road. --Steve Colby (talk) 14:02, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

The American Pageant APUSH book (by Kennedy, Cohen and Bailey) says that "the War of 1812 interupted construction...but the thoroughfare was belatedly brought to its destination in 1852 by a combincation of aid from the states and the federal government." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Road completion dates in Ohio[edit]

"[It] was completed to Columbus, Ohio, in 1838 and Springfield, Ohio, in 1838." That's about 45 miles today, but both dates are the same. Can both be correct? DaveCrane (talk) 09:30, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

America's Highways Reference[edit]

It may be of interest to the maintainers of this page to know that I recently posted a PDF copy of the 1977 Federal Highway Administration book "America's Highways 1776-1976" at the Internet Archive. This is a primary source used by most of the historical accounts of the US highway system. --BenFranske (talk) 06:54, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks!  — LlywelynII 12:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

So... did it work or not?[edit]

The fact that the federal gov't eventually felt the need to foist it off on the local leadership suggests not and that, in the end, the early Democrat opposition to such infrastructure projects was warranted (in at least this instance). But is that really true? or could we get some commentary on the economic value of the road's trade or regional development? — LlywelynII 12:58, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Original route near LaVale[edit]

Until the 1830s, the road left Cumberland on Greene Street and Braddock Road (MD 49). The alignment near LaVale is sketchy. Old topos don't show the present Braddock Road between Vocke and Winchester Roads, and several pages state that it used Macy Drive and probably followed Vocke to Winchester. But 1933 plats (sheets 1, 2, 3) show realignments made at that time, and there was already an alignment of Braddock Road west of Vocke that was bypassed (it can be seen on a 1946 aerial). I suspect that the road originally went here, but it was abandoned at some point (hence it doesn't show up on topos). --NE2 17:19, 26 June 2014 (UTC)