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Historic National Road

National Scenic Byway

If you are traveling east or west through Frederick County, consider taking the Historic National Road! This 170 mile stretch can take you from Maryland to Illinois, passing through Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

History of the Road

As the first federally funded road, the Historic National Road provided a gateway to the west for thousands of settlers and travelers alike. Beginning in Baltimore, the National Turn-Pike reached Frederick and the Appalachians Mountains, further extending through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and ending in Vandalia, Illinois. Since its inception in 1807, the National Road began as the Baltimore & Frederick Town Turnpike. The new "smooth" road was responsible for opening Frederick to trade both east and west, quickly turning a small town into a city. Neighboring towns such as New Market, Mount Airy and Middletown grew up along the famed roadway in like fashion -offering lodging, dining, support services (eg.- blacksmiths/wheelwrights) and depot facilities for trade goods. Many of the old turnpike's original mile markers still exist and can be found on the north side of the roadway. In addition, several interpretive markers help tell the local story along the Historic National Road's route. The Maryland portion of the Historic National Road measures 170 miles, crossing through seven counties.