“Historic National Road”
“The National Road, today called U.S. Route 40, was the first highway built entirely with federal funds. The road was authorized by Congress in 1806 during the Jefferson Administration. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811. The route closely paralleled the military road opened by George Washington and General Braddock in 1754-55.”
“Historic National Road” – WV Tourism
“While America was still in its infancy, a novel idea was hatched – to build a roadway that would connect the fertile frontiers of the Midwest to the seaport of Baltimore, Maryland. There had been pikes and toll bridges before, but never had the federal government decided to build a toll-free road of this length. Eventually this road – aptly named Historic National Road – would stretch from Baltimore, Maryland to East St. Louis, Illinois, and on its way, it would have to pass through the narrow northern panhandle of what is now West Virginia. While the Mountain State contains only 16 of the 800 miles of roadway, these 16 miles would grow and prosper and attract many of the nation’s elite. These wealthy businessmen built many beautiful Victorian-style homes to go with their expanding factories along the Panhandle. Many cities would prosper by having the new Historic National Road pass through them, but few would be affected as greatly as northern West Virginia’s Wheeling . . .
Explore Information from WV Tourism’s “Historic National Road” (deactivated) Website (pdf) to continue reading — Includes: “The Wheeling Suspension Bridge, The Eckhart House, Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, Oglebay Resort, West Virginia Independence Hall”