The National Road By Emily Malone


  • Unify the country
  • Reach western settlements
  • Deliver mail
  • Improve communication problems
  • Other roads were harder to travel on because they were poorly built.
In the 19th century, the United States continued to grow. There needed to be a connection between the East and the Midwest.

Important Dates

1806 - approved by President Jefferson

1811 - construction begins

1818 - reaches Wheeling, VA, which is now a part of West Virginia

1834 - construction completed at the Ohio River

Once completed, the National Road became the first highway that was funded by the federal government.

The segment of the National Road which stretched from Cumberland to Wheeling was known as the Cumberland Road.

Traveling the National Road

Many people decided to move to the Midwest by using the National Road.

  • Used stagecoaches and covered wagons that were pulled by horses
  • Travel during the day
  • Aided by mile markers
  • Towns founded along the road
  • Taverns, inns, and supply shops
  • Able to settle and trade along route
  • Increased population
Conestoga wagons were the most popular mode of transportation on the National Road.

Along the Route

  • From Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois
  • About 600 miles long
  • Passed over the Alleghany Mountains
  • Through state capitals of Indiana and Ohio
  • Crossed Ohio and Wabash Rivers
  • Important structure - Casselman River Bridge
The Casselman River Bridge in maryland directly Connected cumberland to the ohio river.


The National Road was used by enormous amounts of travellers daily and needed to be maintained for safe and easy travel.

  • Partially paid for by the states
  • Raised money by selling land to settlers
  • Tolls paid by travellers
  • Repairs taken on by the state and government
Above are some important historic landmarks along the National Road.


Created with images by Eric Fischer - "Map of the Cumberland Road (1920)" • CircaSassy - "A short history of the United States; for school use (1900)" • skeeze - "covered wagons transportation historical"

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