Images of America: The National Road in Pennsylvania by: Cassandra Vivian -
The history of America is written over every mile of the National Road in Pennsylvania. The original National Road can be traced to Native American trails. George Washington, Gen. Edward Braddock, and James Burd converted portions of Native American trails into a roadway suitable for military purposes and westward expansion. Then came the National Road, built in the early 1800s to accommodate increased traffic traveling westward on the existing road. It was the first federally built road in the United States. Alternately called the National Pike and the Cumberland Road, the National Road was overlaid by segments of U.S. Route 40 in the 1920s. Today, the National Road is designated as a National Scenic Byway as well as an All-American Road. From Addison to West Alexander, The National Road in Pennsylvania contains images of important historic sites and towns on the ninety-mile stretch of highway. The defeat of Col. George Washington's troops at Fort Necessity spawned the French and Indian War. One of the most famous instigators of the Whiskey Rebellion, David Bradford, built his home alongside the National Road. The first cast-iron bridge in America was built on the National Road in Brownsville. The road is flanked by toll houses, coal mines, historic taverns, and automobile camps. One will find images of an S-bridge, mile markers, and memorials relating to the history of the area.