Historic National Road – OH
- DesignationAll-American Road (2002)
- Intrinsic QualitiesCultural, Historic
- LocationIl, IN, MD, PA, WV
- Length227 of 824 total miles
The Historic National Road was the nation's first federally funded interstate highway. It opened the nation to the west and became a corridor for the movement of goods and people. Today, visitors experience a physical timeline, including classic inns, tollhouses, diners, and motels that trace 200 years of American history.
Story of the Byway
The National Road (also known as the Cumberland Road) was the first major improved highway in the U.S. built by the federal government between 1811 and 1837. The 620-mile road connected the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and was a main transport path West for thousands of settlers.
Beginning in Bridgeport, follow US 40 west to Morristown. At Morristown, follow Main Street west through town, then follow US 40 west again. US 40 dead-ends at Stillwater Creek approximately 2.5 miles west of Morristown. Turn left to get onto I-70 west. Take the next exit (Exit 202) to get onto State Route 800 west, just east of Hendrysburg. Follow State Route 800 west to Township Route 807 west through Hendrysburg. Return to State Route 800 west, then veer right onto Old National Road 40A west. Follow Old National Road 40A west to Fairview, then turn left to get onto I-70 west. Follow I-70 west to Exit 193, State Route 513 north. Immediately turn left onto County Route 690 west. Veer right onto County Route 6764 and cross the Salt Fork over the S-Bridge. Return to County Route 690 west by turning right after the bridge. Turn left onto County Route 75 south, crossing under I-70, then turn right onto County Route 670 west. Follow County Route 670 west. Turn right onto County Home Road north, crossing over I-70. Turn right onto Fairground Road east, then left onto Old National Pike west into Old Washington. Follow Old National Pike west through Old Washington. Turn right onto US 40 west. Turn right onto County Route 450 west, then right onto US 40 west again. Follow US 40 west through Cambridge, crossing over Wills Creek. Turn right onto County Route 430 west through Fairdale. Turn right to return to US 40 west. Follow US 40 west through New Concord. Turn right on Norwich Drive north, then veer left onto Main Street west through Norwich. Turn right onto Brick Road west. Turn right to return to US 40 west at the end of the road. Follow US 40 west to just east of Zanesville. Turn left onto County Route 604 south, then immediately right onto Wheeling Avenue west. Veer left onto East Main Street west into downtown Zanesville. Main Street becomes US 40 down town. Follow US 40 west. Turn right onto County Route 415 west through Mt. Sterling. Turn right onto US 40 west. Turn right onto County Route 1 (Main Street) west through Gratiot. Stay straight onto County Route 26 west, then turn right onto US 40 west. Follow US 40 west through Bexley. Where US 40 turns right in Bexley, stay straight, following Main Street west into Columbus. Turn right onto Grant Street north, then left onto Broad Street west through Columbus. Broad Street is US 40 in Columbus. Stay on US 40 west to Summerford. Turn right onto Old US 40 west through Summerford, then right to return to US 40 west. Follow US 40 west to South Vienna. Veer right onto Main Street, proceed west through town, then return to US 40 west where Main Street intersects it. Follow US 40 west into Springfield. Veer left onto Main Street west and follow Main Street through Springfield. Turn left onto US 40 west. Follow US 40 west to the state line, which is the end of the Ohio section of the Historic National Road.
Points of Interest
Hillside Motel and Plaza Motel
Two well-maintained examples of 1950s family-owned roadside motels, each still open 24 hours a day.
Ebbert Farm Market
Dominated by an 1864 Italianate farmhouse,
this site is typical of the prosperous farms
that once had fruit stands along the road.
St. Clairsville Historic District
St Clairsville, originally known as Newelstown, was platted in 1803, over two decades before the arrival of the National Road. The St. Clairsville Historic District (East and West Main Streets between Butler and Sugar Streets) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Benjamin Lundy House
A pre-1815 three-bay “I” house with nicely carved sandstone lintels. This was the home of Benjamin Lundy, an early abolitionist and St. Clairsville’s most famous citizen.
Twin Pines Motel
A rare example of an L-shaped 1940s brick “motor court.”
Founded in 1828, Hendrysburg is the birthplace of William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), famous for his westerns. Hendrysburg is a good location from which to view three generations of road building, the old National Road, U.S. 40 and Interstate 70.
Salt Fork S-Bridge
Salt Fork S-Bridge is a good place to examine the early engineering technique of aligning a bridge to cross a stream at a structurally sound 90 degrees.
Guernsey County Courthouse
The 1883 courthouse was designed by Columbus architect J.W. Yost. It is a fine example of the Second Empire style.
William Rainey Harper Log House
1834 log house where William Rainey Harper was born in 1856. Harper went on to become the first President of the University of Chicago.
Muskingum College, Paul Hall
Paul Hall is the oldest surviving building on campus. This handsome Victorian Italianate building with its round arch windows and doors is quite typical of the "Old Mains" that served many private nineteenth century liberal arts colleges.
John and Annie Glenn Historic Site
Housed in John Glenn’s boyhood home, the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site interprets the lives of the famous astronaut and his wife and relates the story of the twentieth century through the prism of their experiences during the Great Depression and on the home front during World War II.
National Road/Zane Grey Museum
Museum constructed to interpret National Road history. Owned by the Ohio Historical Society, the museum features a diorama, photographs and other exhibits of life on the Road and the vehicles that traveled it. Related exhibits feature the works of western writer and Zanesville native Zane Grey and the famous Zanesville art pottery industry of the early twentieth century.
The Nelson T. Gant House
Nelson Gant was one of Zanesville’s most prominent African American citizens. Born into slavery in 1821, Gant received his freedom in 1845 and was eventually able to buy land for a farm in Zanesville. Here he grew specialty vegetables. Local tradition claims that he often hid escaping slaves in his vegetable wagon to assist them from one safe house to another. Gant also owned a coal mine, acquired more than 300 acres and died a self-made millionaire.
Eagle’s Nest Monument
A large granite rock with an inscription commemorating the concrete paving of the National Road from Zanesville to Hebron, from 1914 to 1916.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Utilized as the Franklin County Fairgrounds from 1886 to 1894. 88 acres of indoor/outdoor art & nature-based exhibits, greenhouses & landscaped grounds.
Two Day Itinerary
Starting at the easternmost point of the Ohio portion of Historic National Road in the city of St. Clairsville, your journey has officially begun! As you make your way towards Old Washington and Cambridge you are going to pass some historically significant sites to this area. These sites include the Brick and Lentz Tavern, multiple Old Road “Segments”, one of the famous “S” Bridges that populate this road, and much more. Once you reach Cambridge, you will find yourself near Salt Fork Lake and Salt Fork Lake State Park where there are plenty of recreational opportunities to enjoy the lake. Continuing on, you can stop at even more historic sites. In New Concord and the surrounding area, notable locations include John and Annie Glenn Historic Site, a section of the road that is paved in brick, the National Road-Zane Grey Museum, and much more that you will notice along the way. While you will end your first day along this road in the city of Columbus, you still have plenty of time to explore some of the notable locations along this portion of the Byway. Buckeye Lake and its State Park is the perfect way to relax before you reach the State Capital, with Dawes Arboretum in proximity. After that, find a hotel in Columbus and spend the night to get ready for tomorrow.
Once you get back on the road after experiencing the Capital, continue west and you will instantly find more historic sites. Right outside of Columbus is the Camp Chase Military and Prison, which played an important role in the Civil War. From there, drive until you reach the city of Springfield, where there is so much history to be found. Here you can find the Heritage Center of Clark County, one of the many Madonnas of the Trail Statues along this road, and the Pennsylvania House, all of which contain incredible history of the area and the country. Next up, and your last stop along this Byway in Ohio will be the city of Englewood. The Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm and the Englewood Metro Park are located here, which are wonderful stops along the way. While your journey may end here, there are still so many different ways to experience this historic road, so turn back around and stop by some of the places that you may have missed!
Update this byway information today!