The National Road began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811 and continued through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Once opened, the coming of westward emigrants, stagecoach travelers, teamsters and local traffic spurred town building. Soon, travelers could find a place to eat, sleep or have wagon repairs done every few miles. These “Pike Towns” served the needs of local farmers, too. They could receive their mail, shop and ship their produce easily along the National Road. With the coming of the railroads in 1850, the road began to decline. Named U.S 40 in the 1920’s, the road was a major east-west travel route until surpassed by Interstate 70 in the early 1960’s.
The National Road was completed across Guernsey County in 1828. The county’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in the historic architecture and agricultural scenery as seen while passing through the Pike Towns and country side. Antique shops, local eateries, and unique attractions along the route will enhance the experience of traveling this historic highway. In Guernsey County, there are 25 stops along the National Road Driving Tour. For a free Driving Brochure filled with interesting information about each stop, click here.
In the state of Ohio there are 10 counties along the National Road encompassing 227.8 miles. It enters Ohio at Bridgeport, across the river from Wheeling, West Virginia, and exits the state near Richmond, Indiana, traveling through Belmont, Guernsey, Muskingum, Licking, Franklin, Madison, Clark, Miami, Montgomery and Preble Counties. A beautifully illustrated Traveler’s Guide to The Historic National Road in Ohio has been created to direct travelers along the original Road whenever possible. In Eastern Ohio, many old Road segments still pass through Pike Towns and along hilltops and ridges. Occasionally the Road includes U.S. 40 and I-70 travel. Until it reaches Zanesville, the National Road may also occasionally encompass or parallel the route of an even earlier road, Zane’s Traced. For a free copy of the Traveler’s Guide, contact us at info@VisitGuernseyCounty.com.