National Road Bicentennial Exhibit Opening at Fort Necessity
Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-5811
FARMINGTON, Pa., The United States has an extensive system of highways. It is hard to imagine life without these public roads. Yet there was a time when the federal government did not fund roads. That is until the National Road crossed the Alleghenies, created a link between the eastern states and the growing west. This first federally funded road was authorized by Congress 200 years ago and served as the main east-west thoroughfare throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, carrying an estimated 200,000 people each year.
The National Park Service is creating a special temporary exhibit - "A Work Worthy of a Great Nation": The Bicentennial of the National Road - to help visitors discover the advent of this great road, how it affected the people along the route, and the influence the construction of this road still has on our society. The exhibit is currently housed in the Fort Necessity National Battlefield Visitor Center.
"A Work Worth of a Great Nation": Bicentennial of the National Road will feature artifacts on loan from The Washington County Historical Society along with items from Fort Necessity's collection. These pieces will chronicle the National Road, from the idea, through the construction and its impact, to the legacy of the road for today's travelers and citizens. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the National Road Heritage Corridor.
Established communities along the National Road thrived and new towns sprang up due to construction and traffic from the road. Immigrants came to build the road. Stagecoach companies, taverns and hotels were needed to accommodate the vast number of travelers. Schools and churches were established for the growing population. Local residents were exposed to the national political scene as prominent politicians, including several U.S. Presidents, traveled the National Road.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield is located 11 miles east of Uniontown, Pennsylvania on US 40 - The Historic National Road. Admission to the park is $5.00 per adult, children 15 and under are free of charge. The fee is collected at the Interpretive and Education Center and is valid for seven days. For more information on park programs, call 724-329-5811 or visit the park web site at www.nps.gov/fone.
The National Road Heritage Corridor office is located at 65 W. Main Street in Uniontown Pennsylvania. For information on their programs and partners, call 724-437-9877 or visit www.nationalroadpa.org.
Did You Know?
When James Sampey, the tavern keeper at the Mount Washington Tavern, died he had eight children ranging from an infant to a 24 year old. His wife, Rebecca, took over the operation of the tavern. Thomas Searight noted that “in many instances widows kept the best taverns along” the National Road.