Skip to main content

The National Road - Ohio - Muskingum and Licking Counties

As it travels from Zanesville towards Columbus, US 40 goes through numerous small towns, changes from two to four lanes and back numerous times, but most importantly the old road keeps its rural charm.  Between Zanesville and Gratiot, there are four former alignments of the old road that can be found: just west of Zanesville, Mt. Sterling, Hopewell, and Gratiot.  Most stretches are very short and can be easily recognized with names such as "Old US 40", "Old National Road", or some combination of the two.

Zanesville:
Just west of US 40's interchange with Interstate 70 (Exit 152) runs an old alignment.
Looking Eastbound on Old US 40 with the four-lane US 40 at right.  (Mike Austing)

An abandoned ice cream stand sits between the old and the new highways.  (Mike Austing)

Mt. Sterling:
Another old alignment goes through this small Muskingum County village.
Old Route 40 runs quietly towards Mt. Sterling.  (Mike Austing)

Hopewell:
Today, US 40 passes south of the community of Hopewell.  The old two-lane road is known as Hopewell National Road.
Hopewell National Road bears off from US 40.  (Mike Austing)
Old US 40 can be seen near Hopewell Elementary.  (Mike Austing)

Gratiot:
Old US 40 is known as Main Street in this tiny village of 200 or so residents.  The old highway at times seems forgotten through here.
Old US 40 entering the Village of Gratiot.  (Mike Austing)
A quiet old highway runs through rural farmland.  (Mike Austing)
Just west of Gratiot, US 40 returns to a rural two-lane road.  The next town along this stretch of US 40 is Brownsville.  Small enough that if you'd blink your eyes you'd miss it, Brownsville captures the historic highway's best feature, the rural charm of the towns and people along it.  Located in this tiny village is the Brownsville School.  The schoolhouse was built in 1900 and served local school children until 1948.  Around 2001, the schoolhouse was transformed into a bed and breakfast.  The school now turned B&B has been renamed 'The National Trail Schoolhouse Inn.' 

The National Trail Schoolhouse Inn, formerly Brownsville School.  (Mike Austing)

Also nearby is the Eagle's Nest Monument.  The monument, a large inscribed boulder sitting on a stone pedestal and may date as far back as 1914, reads, "Old National Road, built 1825, rebuilt 1914 through the efforts of James M. Cox, Governor of Ohio."  The engraving includes an early roadster and a covered wagon.  The location of the Eagle's Nest Monument is also the highest point of the National Road within Ohio.

Eagle's Nest Monument (Mike Ketner)
Another section of the old National Road can be found just outside of Linnville.  

Former alignment of US 40 in Linnville (Mike Kentner)

The next town along US 40 is Jacksontown.  This Licking County village was home to two mainstays along US 40.  Clark's Dining Room and the Jack Town Pub were both well-known and historic eateries in the area that have closed in recent years.  Clark's Dining Room had been in operation since 1918 until it closed in 2009.   The nearby Jack Town Pub was located in an old inn that was built in 1860.  In October of 2016 after 23 years of operation, the Jack Town Pub closed for business.

The former Jack Town Pub.  (Mike Austing)

Off of Interstate 70 at Exit 122, there is an odd piece in both the Interstate and US 40's history.  In 1959, US 40 was moved onto a new four-lane freeway from near Brownsville (I-70 Exit 141) to Kirkersville (I-70 Exit 122).  This road would later become I-70.  From 1962 to 1968, Interstate 70 would end here.  After I-70 was built on to Columbus, a small one-mile piece of this freeway became detached from the Interstate.  When US 40 returned to the original two-lane highway in 1970, the four-lane stub - now serving as a connector - became even less necessary.  Over time, the former westbound roadway was removed and the highway became a typical two-lane road.  However, you can still see the old right-of-way from this former freeway, and a bridge overpass still carries a local road over the highway.  Currently, OH 158 is routed on what was once US 40 and I-70.

Old I-70/US 40 near Kirkersville. (Adam Prince)


Site Navigation:
Sources & Links:

Comments

Jim Grey said…
The NR in eastern OH was probably my favorite road trip ever. Just so much great old infrastructure to see in such a lovely setting. The stretches of brick and concrete are just great. I did it in 2011 and I want to go back.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dummy Lights of New York

  A relic of the early days of motoring, dummy lights were traffic lights  that  were  placed  in the middle of a street intersection. In those early days, traffic shuffled through busy intersections with the help of a police officer who stood on top of a pedestal. As technology improved and electric traffic signals became commonplace, they were also  originally  positioned on a platform at the center of the intersection. Those traffic signals became known as  " dummy lights "  and were common until  traffic lights were moved  onto wires and poles that crossed above the intersection.  In New York State, only a handful of these dummy lights exist. The dummy lights  are found  in the Hudson Valley towns of Beacon and Croton-on-Hudson, plus there is an ongoing tug of war in Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, where their dummy light has been knocked down and replaced a few times. The dummy light in Canajoharie is currently out of commission, but popular demand has caused the dummy

Colorado Road (Fresno County)

Colorado Road is a rural highway located in San Joaquin Valley of western Fresno County.  Colorado Road services the city of San Joaquin in addition the unincorporated communities of Helm and Tranquility.  Colorado Road was constructed between 1910 and 1912 as a frontage road of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The roadway begins at California State Route 145 near Helm and terminates to the west at James Road in Tranquility.   Part 1; the history of Colorado Road Colorado Road was constructed as frontage road connecting the sidings of the Hanford & Summit Lake Railway.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway spanned from South Pacific Railroad West Side Line at Ingle junction southeast to the Coalinga Branch at Armona.  The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway broke ground during August 1910 and was complete by April 1912. The Hanford & Summit Lake Railway established numerous new sidings.  From Ingle the sidings of the line were Tranquility, Graham, San Joaquin, Caldwell, H

Madera County Road 400 and the 1882-1886 Yosemite Stage Road

Madera County Road 400 is an approximately twenty-four-mile roadway following the course of the Fresno River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Road 400 begins at California State Route 145 near Madera and terminates to the north at Road 415 near Coarsegold.  Traditionally Road 400 was known as "River Road" prior to Madera County dropping naming conventions on county highways.  Road 400 was part of the original Yosemite Stage Route by the Washburn Brothers which began in 1882.  The Yosemite Stage Route would be realigned to the west in 1886 along what is now Road 600 to a rail terminus in Raymond.  Parts of Road 400 were realigned in 1974 to make way for the Hensley Lake Reservoir.  Part 1; the history of Madera County Road 400 Road 400 is historically tied to the Wawona Road and Hotel.  The Wawona Hotel is located near the Mariposa Grove in the modern southern extent of Yosemite National Park.   The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel but it does predate th