The National Road was the first and only federally funded highway built in our country. The bill for this road was signed by President Thomas Jefferson on March 29, 1806. The road was to be built through the capitals of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. It was built to save our country from invasion by other countries by giving our citizens a way to move across the country to the west, and to bring raw materials to the factories on the east coast. It became known as The Road That Built the Nation because the people from the east moved quickly and in great numbers to the west.
Abraham Lincoln had his first experience on the National Road in 1818. His family wagon had joined four other wagons and moved from Indiana to Illinois. They stopped in Greenup, on the National Road, and the Lincoln wagon and Abe's cousins wagon stopped to earn some money. Abe, his father and his cousin got jobs digging the community well and the also got jobs building the covered bridge over the Embarras River for the National Road. The family moved on and Abe ran for the state legislature and served in Vandalia on the National Road. While serving Abe became an attorney and served in many towns on the Road after he left the legislature.
Join us to learn more about Mr. Lincoln and the National Road at the National Road Interpretive Center.