On the western edge of LaVale sits one of three remaining toll gate houses on the National Road. Built in the 1830s, the LaVale Toll Gate House served as the first toll for travelers heading west toward Pennsylvania. Tolls varied based on the mode of transportation as well as the number of animals being transported along the road. A recreated list of tolls is found on the side of the building.
Today, the toll gate house is government-owned and has been kept up and repainted through the years. A small park with picnic tables is ajecent to the building, and the interior is a small museum that has been open to the public in the past (I remember touring the building when I was growing up).
The most recent records list the Toll Gate House as being open from Mid-May to October, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. However, the above information from Fodors and Weekend Adventures Magazine is several years old, and the phone number has been disconnected.
I called the Allegany County Visitor’s Bureau, but the ACVB wasn’t sure who was in charge of managing the Toll Gate House. The ACVB’s online record for the site is here. Considering that it’s easy to tell that the site is still well-maintained from just a outside walk-around, I would think someone has to know when the Toll Gate House is open.
Regardless of inside access, there are a few historic markers and informational signs at the park, and it is free and open to the public to walk around and use the picnic facilities (visit this website to see each marker in detail). I’ll keep working on figuring out who is operating the building, and I’ll update this post once I get a concrete answer.
The LaVale Toll Gate House is located at 14302 National Highway in LaVale, next to a tire shop and across from the LaVale Plaza.