“The National Road” – Historical Marker

While this historical marker is titled, “The National Road,” it could easily be renamed “Nemacolin’s Path,” as well. This is because the trail which became known as the National Road–and at other times, Braddock Road, Cumberland Road, US Route 40, or US 68–was created by the Delaware leader Nemacolin. It went on to be the first national pike, connecting Baltimore to more western outposts such as Pittsburgh. The path originated near present-day Cumberland, Maryland, and traversed Haudenosaunee and Delaware lands, through the Appalachian Mountains, to what is now Pittsburgh. This trail also holds national significance as the road taken by George Washington in late 1753 and again in the spring of 1754 as a representative of Virginia during conflicts with the French. 

This is one of many historical markers that commemorate the National Road in Maryland. In addition to this one in Allegany County, others can be found in Ellicott City, Howard County, at 39°16′05″ N, 76°48′04” W; Boonsboro, Washington County at 39° 30’902″ N, 77° 39’44” W; near Friendsville, Garrett County at 39° 40’628″ N, 79° 22’507″ W; Frederick, Frederick County at 39° 24’844″ N, 77° 24.’449″ W; Mount Airy, Carroll County at 39° 21’87” N, 77° 9’668″ W; and more. Despite these various forms of recognition of the significance of the road, only this marker in Allegany County mentions its Indigenous origins. 

Image: “The National Road” – Historical Marker (Maryland Historical Trust)

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Designed by Brian Habib