Skip to main content

The National Road - Ohio - Cambridge to Zanesville

Just west of Cambridge is another of the numerous stone arch 'S' bridges in Ohio.  Built around 1828, the bridge crosses over Peters Creek and is now part of a South Bridge Park.

The Peters Creek 'S' bridge still in use in 1933 (A.S. Burns / Library of Congress)
The Peters Creek S bridge a little overgrown in the early 2000s. (Bee Family)
Continuing west on US 40 and just east of New Concord, another 'S' bridge stands just off of the now heavily beaten path of Route 40.  The bridge is similar to ones located in Claysville and Cambridge; however, this particular bridge has been restored to magnificent condition.  The bridge is known as the Fox Creek 'S' Bridge.  Paved in brick, the bridge, located at the intersection of OH 83 and US 40, has a renewed life that future generations can enjoy.  The Fox Creek Bridge was the last segment of the National Road to be paved in brick in 1919. The National Road from Maryland to Illinois was paved in brick during the 1910s for military vehicles.

A side profile view of the Fox Creek 'S' Bridge. (Mike Kentner)
The Fox Creek Bridge is a striking contrast to modern US 40 nearby. (Mike Austing)
The restored Fox Creek 'S' Bridge and Park near New Concord. (Mike Austing)
New Concord is one of the numerous small Ohio towns along US 40.  It is the birthplace of American Hero, John Glenn, and the home the Muskies of Muskingum College.   
 
The old National Road enters Norwich. (Mike Kentner)
Americans have always been fascinated with travel, the west, and the stories from the two.  In the former stagecoach village of Norwich, The National Road/Zane Grey Museum celebrates this spirit.  The museum features stories about the National Road, the country first 'western route'.  It also documents the life and times of Zanesville native, Zane Grey, who is known as "The Father of the Adult Western."  Across the street from this 'must stop' museum is Baker's Motel.  The motel's original owner, L.B. Baker, donated the land that is now the site of the museum.   

Christopher C. Baldwin monument on Old US 40, Norwich, Ohio. (Mike Kentner)
Unfortunately, one of Norwich's claims to Ohio history is that it is the site of the first recorded traffic fatality in the state's history.  A monument and historical marker along the old highway marks the tragic event.  A plaque on the monument reads, "In Memory of Christopher C. Baldwin, librarian of the American Antiquarian Society Worcester, Mass., killed on this curve Aug. 20, 1835, by the overturning of a stage coach.  This being the first traffic accident on record in this state."  The tablet was placed in Baldwin's honor in 1925, 90 years after his death, by a local Boy Scout Troop.

Leaving Norwich from the west, the old National Pike follows Brick Road.  Here for about a mile, the old highway holds onto its early 20th century heritage as a brick road
Mike Kentner

Mike Kentner
 
Mike Kentner


Mike Kentner

On an old alignment just west of Norwich, the former National Road goes over a stone arch bridge.  This arch bridge appears to be of the same design as those of the famous 'S' bridges built along the highway in the early 1800s.
A stone arch bridge found on a former alignment of the National Road west of Norwich.  (Mike Kentner)


A stone arch bridge found on a former alignment of the National Road west of Norwich.  (Mike Kentner)
One of the oldest cemeteries along the National Road is in Zanesville.  The Greenwood Cemetery was built by the city in 1835.  Originally named 'City Cemetery' until 1885, numerous politicians and other well known local citizens have been buried here.  The stone-arch which serves as the entrance way to the grounds has been standing since 1887.

The over 130 year old arched entrance to Zanesville's Greenwood Cemetery (Mike Austing)

Site Navigation:
Sources & Links:
  • The Bee Family
  • Mike Austing
  • Mike Kentner

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

History of the Wawona Road (Yosemite National Park)

Recently I located a portion of the Old Wawona Road that was the original alignment used by wagons and early cars to get to Yosemite Valley from the south before the Wawona Tunnel was built.  Locating the Old Wawona Road was the primary driving force to head to a very dry Yosemite National Park this winter.






Generally I don't talk about the history of a route first, but in the case of the Wawona Road I thought it was particularly important to do so first.  The modern Wawona Road is approximately 28 miles in length from the north terminus of California State Route 41 at the boundary of Yosemite National Park to South Side Drive near Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley.  A good chunk of people entering Yosemite Valley use the Wawona Road which generally is considered to be the easiest route...that certainly was not always the case.

The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel.  The first structure in the Wawona Hotel complex dates back to 1876 which was built by the Wa…

Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  T…