The National Road originally connected the Potomac River at Cumberland' Maryland, and the Ohio Rover at Wheeling, Virginia, now West Virginia. It was later extended to Vandalia, Illinois, and on to St. Louis.
Cumberland was chosen for the starting point because of its proximity to the Potomac, Washington, DC, and the established transportation hub of canals (the article said railroads also, but I don't think they had them back in the first decade of the 1800s.
There was also a nearby road to the booming port of Baltimore.
Besides National Road, it was also called the Cumberland Road.
It has also been called the "Road That Built a Nation."
A ceremony was held a couple weekends ago at Riverside Park in Cumberland to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the National Road. A 12-foot replica of an original National Road marker was dedicated at the time.
Another Road I Want to Eventually Drive the Length. --RoadDog