Category Archives: Ohio

Mile 204 – Zanesville Y-Bridge, Zanesville, Ohio

The bridge as viewed from Putnam Hill Park.

The bridge as viewed from Putnam Hill Park.

Probably one of the more unique infrastructure sights along the National Road is the Y-Bridge in Zanesville. Spanning the Muskingum River at its intersection with the Licking River, the bridge serves as a major traffic artery for the downtown area of the city. What makes this bridge special is the fact that there is a three-way intersection in the center of the bridge, controlled by a stoplight.

The bridge from Muskingum River Parkway State Park.

The bridge from Muskingum River Parkway State Park.

Though the history of a y-bridge at this location spans almost 200 years (no pun intended), the current bridge was built in 1984 – the fifth such structure. The original bridge, built in 1814, met its demise by falling into the river, and each subsequent bridge was eventually deemed unsafe and had to be rebuilt, producing the current bridge as it is today. Since the first bridge was built, the uniqueness of its shape resulted in the bridge becoming a local tourist attraction, and Muskingum County, the City of Zanesville and the Zanesville-Muskingum County CVB all maintain webpages featuring the bridge’s history.

As for the tie-in with National Road history, the N.R. was routed across the bridge in the 1830s, as the road was being built across Ohio. The U.S. Route 40 mainline is still routed across the bridge today.

A sign at the southwest entrance to the bridge.

A sign at the southwest entrance to the bridge.

There are a few options for viewing the bridge that I found when I visited. Probably the best spot for seeing the bridge up-close is a parking lot on the grounds of Muskingum River Parkway State Park, which I personally had no idea existed (and is pretty cool in and of itself!). This turnoff for this area is located immediately before crossing the bridge at its eastern end (on the left if driving west, on the right if driving east).

The second option, which gives a nice aerial view of the bridge, is at the top of a hill south and west of the bridge. The viewpoint is part of the city’s Putnam Hill Park. The city has signs directing drivers to this spot from U.S. 40. I’ve included a map of both of these locations below.

Of course, the Y-bridge isn’t the only unique bridge along the National Road. Two other bridges, one in Wheeling, and one in Grantsville, Md., have also piqued my interest, as have the numerous S-Bridges in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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Mile 302 – Madonna of the Trail (Ohio), Springfield, Ohio

Ohio's Madonna of the Trail monument in Springfield.

Ohio’s Madonna of the Trail monument in Springfield.

Ohio’s Madonna of the Trail monument was the first monument to be dedicated in 1928, and it may have been the most moved of all 12 monuments since it was first placed. This monument is owned by the Lagonda Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Springfield (DAR chapters own all of the monuments).

Currently, the monument is along Main Street in downtown Springfield’s relatively new National Road Commons park. Originally, according to the city of Springfield and the DAR, the statue was along present U.S. 40 on the grounds of the Ohio Masonic Home, west of downtown Springfield. However, when the U.S. 68 bypass around Springfield was being built (1957), the monument was moved out of the way and onto an alcove along U.S. 40 slightly farther east. That location seemed to be pretty unfriendly to visitors, as it appears there wasn’t really anywhere to park, and that section of U.S. 40 is four-lane with a speed limit of 50 mph. The monument was last restored in 2003.

Finally, in 2011, Ohio’s Madonna was moved a few miles east to its present location in a new park. Finding the statue was pretty easy. The National Road Commons takes up part of a city block between West Main Street and West Columbia Street two blocks west of Ohio-72. Parking along the street is not an issue.

The monument was placed in Springfield's new National Road Commons park in 2011.

The monument was placed in Springfield’s new National Road Commons park in 2011.

Like each of the 11 monuments that came after this one, Ohio’s Madonna is identical to the others (the inscriptions on the pedestals do change though, to reflect local history). Madonnas along the National Road are located in Beallsville, Pa.; Wheeling, W.Va.; Richmond, Ind.; and Vandalia, Ill. The rest are in Bethesda, Md.; Lexington, Mo.; Council Grove, Kan.; Lamar, Colo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Springerville, Ariz.; and Upland, Calif.

Below is a map showing the travel path of the Madonna of the Trail in Springfield. Note that the first location at the Ohio Masonic Home is approximate.


Summer 2013 Festivals Along the National Road

Last year, I posted a list of festivals I had found that were scheduled along or near the National Road during the summer months. It proved to be one of the more popular posts this blog had, so I figured I would update the list to reflect this year’s events. If there’s anything that should be added, I’d like to know!

All States

May 29-June 2: 10th Annual National Road Yard Sale, Maryland to Missouri. See information from Old Storefront Antiques, where the tradition started, here.

Maryland

May 23-26: DelFest, Cumberland.

June 8-19: 45th Annual Heritage Days Festival, Cumberland.

June 28-30: 36th Annual Grantsville Days, Grantsville.

July 4: 37th Annual Soapbox Derby, Frostburg.

Sept. 21: Bicentennial Celebration of the Casselman River Bridge (see the bridge on this blog), Grantsville.

Pennsylvania

May 17-19: 40th Annual National Road Festival, Southwest Pennsylvania.

June 13-15: The 10th Annual National Road Chainsaw Carving Festival, Addison.

June 15: 12th Annual Beer & Gear Festival, Ohiopyle.

Aug. 5-10: Mountain Area Fair, Farmington.

Aug. 9-11: The 33rd National Pike Steam, Gas & Horse Assn. Show, Brownsville.

Aug. 23-25: Italian Festival of Fayette County, Dunbar (near Uniontown).

Sept. 2-7: West Alexander Fair, West Alexander.

Sept. 21-22: 43rd Covered Bridge Festival, Washington and Greene counties.

West Virginia

June 28-30: Ohio Valley Black Heritage Festival, Wheeling.

July 26-28: Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival, Wheeling.

Aug. 9-11: Heritage Music Bluesfest, Wheeling.

Aug. 24: 6th Annual Wine and Jazz Festival, Wheeling.

Aug. 30-Sept. 1: Wheeling Vintage Raceboat Regatta, Wheeling.

mid-Sept.: Wheeling Heritage Port Sternwheel Festival, Wheeling

Ohio

Columbus Fairs and Events

June 13-July 20: Springfield Summer Arts Festival, Springfield.

July 12-13: Zanesville Pottery Lovers’ Show and Sale, Zanesville.

July 18-21: Jamboree in the Hills, Belmont.

Aug. 2-3: Y Bridge Arts Festival, Zanesville.

Aug. 9-11: 45th Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, Cambridge.

Aug. 16-17: Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, Reynoldsburg.

Sept. 21-22: Preble County Pork Festival, Eaton.

Sept. 28: Hebron Music and Arts Festival, Hebron.

Indiana

Indianapolis

May 23-June 1: Banks of the Wabash Festival, Terre Haute.

June 5-8: Jubilee Days, Knightstown.

Sept. 7-8: Hoosier Fall Fest, Knightstown.

Sept. 20-21: Quaker Day Festival, Plainfield.

Oct. 3-6: Riley Festival, Greenfield.

October: 10th Annual Clay County Popcorn Festival, Brazil.

Illinois

May 31-June 2: Fun Fest for Air-Cooled VWs, Effingham.

Labor Day Weekend (unconfirmed dates): Casey Popcorn Festival, Casey.

September (unconfirmed dates): Grand Levee/Harvest Festival, Vandalia.

Fall (unconfirmed dates): Harvest Moon Music Festival, Vandalia.


Mile 259 – Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio

The facade of the statehouse.

The facade of the statehouse.

When the National Road was built, it carried transportation importance not only as a gateway west, but also as a link between western state governments and the East. The road itself passes through three former state capitals – Wheeling, W.Va. (several times in the late 1800s), Zanesville, Ohio (1810-1812), Vandalia, Ill. (1819-1839) – and two current state capitals – Columbus and Indianapolis.

The dome in the rotunda of the statehouse.

The dome in the rotunda of the statehouse.

In all of these locations, the National Road passes directly by, or very close to, the state capitol buildings. In Columbus, the Ohio Statehouse fronts the road (Broad Street) on its northern side.

The current statehouse was completed in 1861, after fire destroyed a previous building. The building is consistent with Greek Revival architecture, and the self-guiding tour brochure states that the idea to construct the capitol in this style came from a desire to create a structure that represented democracy, which was, of course, developed in ancient Greece.

Inside the statehouse rotunda.

Inside the statehouse rotunda.

The statehouse was renovated during the early 1990s, which restored much of the detailed interior architecture seen in the building today. In addition, the statehouse was fused with the Senate Building via an enclosed atrium, and the lowest level of the structure was renovated to serve as both a lower connection between the buildings and as a better facility for visitors.

The entrance to the Statehouse Museum.

The entrance to the Statehouse Museum.

Visiting the statehouse today is quite easy. A public parking garage exists under the building, accessible from Broad, Third or State streets. The garage leads directly into the lower level of the capitol, where a small, but modern, interactive museum features exhibits documenting politics and government in Ohio. Guided tours are free and given throughout the day, or guidebooks are available for a self-guided tour, which is what I did.

The mural for which the "Map Room" is named.

The mural for which the “Map Room” is named.

Because the statehouse and Senate Building are essentially one building, it’s a little easy to get disoriented at first. However, the statehouse is secured with a division of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and those officers can be of assistance.

The self-guided tour leads through each level of the building, noting the function of nearly every room on each floor. The guidebook provides detailed information on each location, and also contains photos and descriptions of what parts of the capitol looked like before the 1990s renovation/restoration.

Ohio Statehouse Resize (5)One aspect of the Ohio Statehouse that makes visiting pleasant is that the whole building is very open and visitor-friendly (at least when the Ohio General Assembly is not in session). Visitors are able to walk freely in and out of the building’s entrances, and even the House and Senate chambers are open to the public (again, as long as the legislature is not in session). This atmosphere allowed me to enjoy and take in the building at my own pace, without feeling rushed.

The highlights, at least in my mind, are The Rotunda, the House and Senate chambers, the Statehouse Museum and the grounds around the building. Of course, there are scores of other features the capitol has to offer.

The Ohio Statehouse is open to the public Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ohio Statehouse Resize (6)


Mile 189 – Fox Run ‘S’ Bridge, New Concord, Ohio

Fox Run S Bridge ResizeJust west of New Concord, Ohio, is one of the state’s relatively numerous ‘S’ bridges still standing – the Fox Run ‘S’ Bridge – right up against a four-lane segment of U.S. 40.

Built in 1828, this bridge seems to be unique in that I’ve seen it under three different names: the “Fox Run S Bridge,” the “Fox Creek S Bridge” and “S Bridge II.” Like most of the S bridges in Ohio and Pennsylvania, a small park surrounds the structure, which is open to pedestrians. However, as I found out, the bridge isn’t very friendly to visitors in the winter, as the small designated parking area and the bridge itself aren’t kept free of snow.

A marker at the bridge.

A marker at the bridge.

An information marker  on the east end of the bridge gives a little more information than a standard state historical marker, including mentioning that “the Fox Creek Crooked Creek area [was] a bastion of Abolitionism before and during the Civil War,” that every township in Ohio along the National Road doubled in population in a decade after the road was built and that the National Road was bricked over in 1919 to transport heavy equipment during World War I. Apparently, this bridge was the last part of the road to be bricked over. The bridge was used at least until the 1930s or 1940s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

If I get a chance, I would rather see this bridge without snow on the ground. There’s supposed to be a path that leads down to the creek to let visitors see the structure closer. Parking (when there’s no snow on the ground) is located on the west end of the bridge.Fox Run S Bridge Resize (2)


Mile 180 – Theo’s Restaurant, Cambridge, Ohio

Theos ResizeIt seems that when a restaurant advertises the fact that it’s been around for decades, said establishment often sticks to decor associated with a set time period in American history. But that doesn’t appear to be the case with Theo’s Restaurant in downtown Cambridge.

Theo’s traces its history to 1931 when it opened as a Coney Island-style hot dog establishment, says the restaurant’s website. Since then, the place has passed down though several generations of owners, all related to varying degrees. After a fire in the 1980s, the restaurant was rebuilt, retaining the “Coney Island Lunch” name (which explains the more modern decor in the restaurant). It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the restaurant was renamed “Theo’s.”

The bar area of one of the dining rooms.

The bar area of one of the dining rooms.

Remnants of the eatery’s original purpose still survive, such as a Coney Island hot dog menu in the far dining room. The restaurant also has retained the locally-famous Coney Island dogs on its menu.

I was able to stop in for lunch on a recent trip to Indiana, and I was thoroughly impressed. The interior is large, and divided into two distinct dining rooms, one of which contains a bar. I had the “moist and sassy” version of the grilled chicken breast sandwich (I tend to be a sucker for menu items that are given a weird name). This version of the sandwich features the chicken marinated in a wine, olive oil, lemon and spice blend, which honestly was one of the best marinades I’ve ever had – not too sweet, not dripping wet and not hot. The grand total for my sandwich, fries and drink was under $7.

The "moist and sassy" version of the chicken sandwich.

The “moist and sassy” version of the chicken sandwich.

Theo’s seemed really down-to-earth, despite the fairly modern decor. The staff was all very friendly and made sure everything was satisfactory. The other thing I really liked was the variety on the menu. This isn’t just an average sandwich and fries place. For example, one of the specials the day I visited was halushki – a Hungarian entree based on soft noodles and cabbage. The Theo’s recipe included ham.

Theo’s is located at 632 Wheeling Ave., right in downtown Cambridge along U.S. 40.  It is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily specials and the regular menu are updated on the restaurant’s website. Parking is available on both sides of Wheeling Avenue in Cambridge, and is free for two hours – plenty of time to eat. Theo’s can be reached at 740-432-3878.

A page of the menu.

A page of the menu.

The main dining room.

The main dining room.

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Mile 168, ‘S’ Bridge, Wills Twp., Ohio

One of the four ‘S’ bridges along the National Road in eastern Ohio is found along an extremely rural and low-trafficked stretch of road east of Old Washington, Ohio. The bridge was built in 1828 to cross a small creek, and like all the S bridges, was bypassed in the 20th Century. In the 1960s, the bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark. Unlike a similar structure in Washington County, Pennsylvania, vehicles are still permitted to cross this bridge.

This bridge is along a stretch of road now named Bridgewater Road. The bridge itself is part of Blend Road, which is an older section of the National Road paralleling Bridgewater Road. There’s no set area to park and walk around, but because of the very low amount of traffic, it’s safe to park near the entrance to the bridge.