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NRCUMB_061125_01.JPG: The National Road
The Road that Built the Nation
“. . . so many happy people, restless in the midst of abundance.”
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840.
Americans are an adventurous people. From past to present, they have used feet, horses, wagons, stagecoaches, canals, railroads, bicycles, automobiles, trucks and buses to “perpetually change their plans and abodes.”
Centuries ago, George Washington dreamed of a highway joining east and west. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson made that roadway a reality when he risked his Presidency by authorizing, “an Act to regulate the laying out and making [of] a road from Cumberland in the State of Maryland to the State of Ohio.”
The next generation built that “United States Road,” a thirty-foot wide, crushed stone thoroughfare that spanned rivers, traversed mountains and opened up America’s western frontier to the Mississippi. Merchants, traders and families from all over the world journeyed along this route in their quest to claim land, expand markets and form new lives.
Today, you can trace that same path along the Historic National Road. Discover the places, events and stories that shaped this nation. To have your own adventure, stop by any Welcome Center or local visitor center to speak to a travel counselor and pick up a Historic National Road map-guide.
NRCUMB_061125_04.JPG: The Historic National Road: Where the Road Began: [Maryland sign #44, see http://visitmaryland.org/planningamarylandvisit/heritage/National%20Road/hnr%20Waysides.html ]
You are standing at the starting point of this country's first federal road building project, the National Road. A vision of George Washington as a means to develop the continent and to unite the country, his idea was championed by Thomas Jefferson and authorized by Congress in 1806.
Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Cumberland sat on the edge of the frontier in the early 19th century. Crossing the mountainous landscape was challenging. The eastern continental divide was a barrier for westward expansion and trade in the Ohio Valley. Still, daring pioneers pushed westward.
"Easily first among the several through highways running west from the Atlantic seaboard, and ranking with the Santa Fe and Oregon trails of the far west, is the Old National Road, which, though completed as a government project only from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling (then Virginia, now West Virginia) was connected up with the older pikes from Baltimore, Frederick, and Hagerstown, and subsequently with the newer lines west of the Ohio River, making for all time the shortest and most natural way for road travel from tidewater at Chesapeake Bay to the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers at St. Louis, Missouri."
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Generally-Related Subject Description: The town of Cumberland is located on the western edge of Maryland and marks the union of Will's Creek into the Potomac River. In 1755, Fort Cumberland was established here. It was here that George Washington received his first commission. (His headquarters building from that time is still preserved here.) Years later, he would don his military uniform for the last time here as he instructed federal troops under Henry "Lighthorse" Lee on their orders for suppressing the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania.
Cumberland's importance in the 1800's, however, was due to it being the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The canal, started in Georgetown in 1828, would reach 184.5 miles in length. Its ditch and towpath would require 74 lift locks, 7 dams, 11 aqueducts, and a 3,118-foot tunnel near Paw Paw. The canal reached Harpers Ferry in 1833, Hancock in 1839, and then stalled because of the tunnel and labor troubles.
The competing Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, however, which began the same day, continued without major problems. It reached Cumberland in 1842. The National Road had reached here before. The canal company had planned to keep going beyond Cumberland (its name was because it planned to get as far as the Ohio Valley) but financial problems and the railroad's success caused it to drop these plans. Finally, in 1850, the canal made it to Cumberland. It wasn't profitable until the 1870's however. In 1889, a devastating flood destroyed the canal. Bankrupted, the canal company was bought by the B&O Railroad which tried to resume the canal business. Another massive flood in 1924 killed it for good though. In 1971, the canal became the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park and is preserved forever.
2006 photos: Equipment this year: I was using all six Fuji cameras at various times -- an S602Zoom, two S7000s,a S5200, an S9000, and an S9100. The majority of pictures this year were taken with the S9000. I have to say, the S7000s was the best camera I've used up to this point..
Trips this year: Florida (two separate trips including Lotusphere and taking care of mom), three weeks out west (including Yellowstone), Williamsburg, San Diego (comic book convention), and Georgia.
Number of photos taken this year: 183,000.