Monday, January 3, 2011

The National Road's Impact on West Virginia-- Part 2

Cont. from Dec. 30, 2010.

Jeremy Morris, the President of the National Road Alliance in West Virginia, says that the Shepherd family of Wheeling did a whole lot to get the road to go through Wheeling (which was part of Virginia at the time). Their home still stands in the Elm Grove section of the city. They entertained many influential guests, including Henry Clay who got the money for the project passed through Congress.

Because of the road's arrival in Wheeling, there was a great influx of industry and dry good stores to serve travelers. The Labelle Nail Co. flourished and it said most homes built to the west were built using Labelle nails.

The National Road eventually ran 800 miles across six states. Only 16 miles of it run through the West Virginia panhandle.

One of the greatest engineering feats of the first half of the 19th century was the Wheeling Suspension Bridge which opened in 1849. It is the longest and oldest suspension bridge in the world.

As great of an accomplishment as the National Road was, it was soon passed over by the B & O Railroad and then in the 1900s, the automobile and highway systems.

Today, US-40 and I-70 run alongside or on the old National Road alignment.

A Stretch I Need to Check Out. --RoadDog

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