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America on the Move
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National Road milepost

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National Road milepost
Smithsonian Institution


This object appears in the following sections:

Transportation in America before 1876:
Transportation in America before 1876 — Connecting the Growing Nation

A stopping place on the National Road

National Road Milepost
Catalog #: 322268, Accession #: 247888
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This marker was used on the National Road, West of Frostburg, Maryland. It is believed to have been cast in the foundry of Major James Francis, at Connellsville, Pennsylvania and was probably set up in the late 1830s or 1840s. It remained outside until January 1963.
Physical Description

artifact. Obelisk-shaped cast iron milepost. Hollow “V” shape with two sides and no back. Light gray with indented black letters and numerals: (left side) 18 to Cumberland, to Frostburgh 7; (right side) 113 to Wheeling, to Petersburgh 19”

56” H x 27” W x 14” D
Date Made:
about 1840
Frostburg, Maryland
State of Maryland, State Roads Commission

In the early 19th century, most roads were dreadful. They served local needs, allowing farmers to get produce to market. Americans who did travel long distances overland to settle the West rode on wagon trails, like the Oregon Trail, rather than well-defined roads. Still, a few major roads served as important transportation links. The National Road, initially funded by the federal government, stretched from Cumberland, Maryland, to Columbus, Ohio, by 1833.

Related People, Places, and Events
Major James Francis

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