Historic National Road Byway Trip

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Yesterday Today
Route40.net I've headed up the "Yesterday" column with Frank Brusca's Route 40 site not because it isn't current but because it offers so much history. Yes, its focus is a US highway that only came into being in the 1920s but it ties that highway to all that came before. Look around and you will find Braddock's Road, Zane's Trace, the Cumberland Road, and more. Frank has been sharing his Route 40 knowledge via the web since 1995. In addition, Frank moderates the Route 40 e-group at Yahoo. byways.org A Federal Highway Administration site with lots of information, including driving directions, on the 126 roads designated America's Byways®. Among these special roads are some, with national significance, called All-American Roads. The Historic National Road is one. Of course you can pick up a little history here but the emphasis is on helping people drive the current official byway.
fhwa.dot.qov Another modern site that is here because it offers plenty of history. You can find articles here on The National Road, Maryland's Bank Road, Zane's Trace, and a whole lot more. OhioHistory.org Just east of Zanesville, OH, in the town of Norwich, the National Road Museum sits between US-40 and I-70. Owned and operated by the Ohio Historical Society, its officially called the National Road/Zane Grey Museum. Grey, the great-grandson of Ebenezer Zane, was born in Zanesville. He gained fame writing western novels like Riders of the Purple Sage. The road has the majority of museum space but the author also gets his share and so does the art pottery that once flourished in the area.
RootsWeb.com Allegheny County Maryland includes this 1923 Cumberland Road essay in their USGenWeb project. They also have a page on National Road taverns and inns that includes some descriptions from 1894. TinCanTourists.com Back in 1919, some travelers in Florida got together and gave themselves the name Tin Can Tourists. These weren't the "eat in a restaurant & sleep in a hotel" sort of travelers but people who slept in tents or their cars and cooked their meals over camp fires. Membership grew to a peak of 100,000 in 1963 then dropped rapidly. The group ceased to exist sometime in the '70s but was revived, in 1998, as an organization for vintage trailers and RVs. In June of 2006, they will be traveling the National Road from Cumberland, MD, to Vandalia, IL. Check out their plans and participating people & vehicles here.

I knew of the Tin Can Tourists from my great-grandmother's mention of joining the group in 1920 but I only learned of their current incarnation when I started gathering information for my own National Road trip. In 2001, Chris & I retraced the trip on which my great-grandparents became Tin Can Tourists but that's another story.

ConnerPrairie.com Timothy Crumrin's article on The Making of the National Road is from the Conner Prairie web site. Conner Prairie is not a historical National Road town. It is an "open-air living history museum" north-east of Indianapolis; A bit more than ten miles away from the current US-40. It looks like a place I really must visit. I discovered the web site through a National Road search but their "Learn and Do" section contains a lot more. GribbleNation.com Adam Prince's (GribbleNation) photo essay of the National Road through its four eastern states. Nothing yet from Indiana or Illinois but that could change. The essay is divided into sections and can be "traveled" in either direction. Each page helps weave the World Wide Web with a "Sources & Links" section.
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