Description - As the first fedrerally funded road, the Historic National Road provided a gateway to the West for thousands of settlers who followed it from Baltimore through the Appalachians to Vandalia, Illinois. The road's history traces the evolution of transportation and commemorates the movement that ultimately stretched the nation's boundaries from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It all began in 1806 when Congress authorized a road running west from Cumberland, Maryland. The proposed Historic National Road was the impetus for Maryland's General Assembly to create a turnpike, run by private intrests, connecting Baltimore and Cumberland. Maryland's Baltimore to Cumberland section of the road was designated the Historic National Pike.
Many layers of urbanization have modified this historic route, but the diligent traveler may still follow the old Historic National Pike through the streets of Baltimore westward into the historic Maryland countryside. Today, with the construction of new roads, many historic towns and sites originally connected to the Historic National Pike lure modern travelers with rugged charm, and a host of antique shops, specialty shops, and unique restaurants. These elements make the National Historic Road a treat for everyone.
- The Historic National Road is known for it's Cultural, Historical, Natural and Scenic Attractions.