The Old Petersburg Toll House, located in Addison, is the only hand-cut native stone toll house in Pennsylvania. It is an authentic reflection of the structure as it existed in 1835 when toll collection began. The interior, with its original flooring and period furnishings convey a sense of what domestic life was like for the toll collector and his family. On the exterior is a hand-made sign which lists the fees for traveling the Road in 1835.
Addison Borough is one of the southern-most municipalities in Somerset County and the first National Road pike town in PA. Laid out by Peter Augustine, whose homestead lies just east of town, the borough was settled in 1764, and incorporated in 1800. This original pike town has National Road period houses still intact including a one-room school house, and a 1900’s gas station with original pumps.
While much of the National Road has been overlaid by the present-day US 40, there are a few areas where the original corridor can be seen and experienced. Main Street in Addison, PA provides a wonderful glimpse of what the original route would have looked like at the turn of the 19th century.
Built in 1818 as part of the National Road, the Somerfield Bridge, also known as the Great Crossings Bridge, was sacrificed to flood control in 1943 when the Army Corps of Engineers built a protective dam just south of Confluence, Somerset County, and created the Youghiogheny River Lake. The lake also took the little town of Somerfield, east of the bridge, where 142 people lived in the early 1940’s.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield commemorates the opening battle (July 3, 1754) of the French and Indian War, in which Colonel George Washington surrendered to the French. The National Park is located about 11 miles east of Uniontown and comprises approximately 900 acres in three separate units. The main unit contains the Fort Necessity/ National Road Interpretive and Education Center, the battlefield with the reconstructed fort, and Mount Washington Tavern.
Around 1828, the Mt. Washington Tavern was built adjacent to the Fort Necessity battle site. It was one of many such establishments along the National Road, providing food, drink, and beds to stagecoach travelers and others. Business declined beginning in the mid-1850’s once the railroads replaced stagecoach travel in the area and the tavern saw only occasional use into the 1900’s. Now part of the Ft. Necessity National Battlefield units, it has since been restored and now houses interpretive exhibits of tavern life during the heyday (early 1800’s) of the National Road.
Encompassing about 19,052 acres of rugged natural beauty, the park serves as the gateway to the Laurel Mountains. The focal point of the area is the more than 14 miles of Youghiogheny River Gorge. The “Yough” provides some of the best whitewater boating in the Eastern U. S. as well as spectacular scenery. A popular destination in the park is Ferncliff Peninsula, a National Natural Landmark (1973) comprising 100-acres in the Youghiogheny River that offers visitors a unique look at flora and fauna not native to the region.
Kentuck Knob represents a refinement of the many principles of organic architecture explored by Frank Lloyd Wright throughout his long career. Designed in 1953 for the I.N. Hagan family of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Kentuck Knob is situated just below the crest of a hill and appears to be a part of the mountain itself. To the east, just steps beyond the back terrace, stretches a breathtaking panorama of the Youghiogheny River Gorge and the mountains that surround it.
Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works, was designed for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. It was the family’s weekend home from 1937 until 1963, when the house, its contents, and grounds were presented to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. Fallingwater is the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and art work intact.
A unit of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Braddock’s grave memorializes the final resting place of British Major General Edward Braddock, leader of an ill-fated expedition to the forks of the Ohio River to try to capture French-held Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War. Braddock’s remains were initially buried under what is now the National Road in order to protect them from desecration by the French and Native Indians, but later moved to its current site and marked with a new monument.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a family and luxury vacation destination on 2,000 wooded acres in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The property was purchased in 1987 at auction by Joseph A. Hardy, III, founder of the 84 Lumber Companyand transformed into a world-class resort, rated Four-Stars by the prestigious Mobil Travel Guide and Four Diamonds by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
At age 22, Lieutenant Colonel George Washington led British troops and attacked a French militia led by Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville.The battle was over in about 15 minutes and 21 French soldiers, including Jumonville, were taken prisoner. Historians of the battle reported that Jumonville was killed by the Seneca chief known as Half King. This skirmish was the spark that began the French and Indian War in America.
The Summit Hotel was first opened to the public in 1907. Due to its excellent facilities, location and beautiful view, the resort was an immediate success and has enjoyed continuous popularity ever since a colorful German named Leo Heyn purchased the complex about 1930 and made it nationally famous. The original hotel register, proudly displayed in the lobby, dates back to 1917 when Henry Ford and Thomas Edison brought the American Science Wizards here to race down the mountain.
Fayette County’s first commercial winery, Christian W. Klay Winery is located on the site of the former Fayette Springs Farm, a 215-acres parcel located in Chalk Hill, PA, along the National Road corridor. The farmland has a long history of entertaining and welcoming guests. At the turn of the century, the farm was owned by U.S. Senator William E. Crow who opened his mountain estate to many visitors including President Harding and Black Jack Pershing.
Located in the Laurel Highlands of Fayette County, Laurel Caverns begins on the south side of the historic National Road, high atop the crest of Chestnut Ridge. Laurel Caverns is a 435 acre geological park, containing over 3 miles of passages under the mountains. Pennsylvania’s longest cave, the natural formation follows the slope of the mountain. Formerly called Delaney’s Cave and originally called Laurel Hill Cave, it has been explored since the late 1700’s and was a lair in the olden days for indians and robber gangs.
The only one of more than 20 early Fayette County iron furnaces to be restored to its original appearance, it operated from 1839 to 1873. US Rep. Andrew Stewart began construction on this charcoal fired iron furnace in 1837. One of its products was cannonballs for the Civil War. The iron industry of the 1800’s was the forerunner of a steel industry that was soon to follow, which played a significant part in western Pennsylvania’s history.
The historic village of Hopwood, PA lies at the foot of Summit Mountain on the western edge of the Appalachian chain. Founded by John Hopwood in November 1791, the village was a major resting stop to and from the western territory and hence a site of considerable commerce. Hopwood has evolved with the times, yet many significant National Road period structures remain today. The village boasts of several native cut stone houses and many former inns and taverns, including several National Register sites.
In 2010, two, full-size bronze sculptures of Thomas Jefferson and Albert Gallatin planning the construction of the National Road were erected in Eberly Square, along Main Street (National Road) in the center of Uniontown, PA. The square is named in honor of Robert Eberly, a Fayette County philanthropist whose largess extended from universities to arts groups to regional economic development.
Uniontown was founded by Henry Beeson on July 4, 1776, the same date as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The National Road, was routed through Uniontown in the early 1800s and the town grew along with the Road. Uniontown is the birthplace of General George Marshall, author of the Marshall Plan that helped reconstruct Europe after World War II. It has hosted nine US Presidents, and been the home of numerous historic US figures.
The Searight Toll House is named for William Searight, owner of a prosperous tavern on the National Road. He had been a contractor for the road and was later appointed commissioner of the Pennsylvania section, however he had no connection with the toll house itself. The years immediately following the construction of the toll houses saw a never ending stream of traffic, both east and west. Waggoners, drovers, stage drivers, and mail expresses left their colorful imprints on the road’s history.
The Flatiron Building was built circa 1830 directly on the National Road as a commercial structure. In addition to the age of the building identifying its historical value, the shape takes the form of an old-fashioned clothing iron; it is a significant structure in the community. As the oldest structure on lower Market Street, it is a contemporary of the early nineteenth century buildings on Brownsville’s North Side (upper Market Street).
Overlooking the Monongahela River, Nemacolin Castle stands proudly as silent witness to Brownsville’s historic past. In 1789, Jacob Bowman, a pioneer merchant from Hagerstown, Maryland, built a frontier trading post on the approximate site of Old Fort Burd. Within the spacious interior are twenty-two furnished rooms which reflect early life in America from Colonial times to the late Victorian era. Included in the collection are many original Bowman family furnishings. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Bowman’s Castle).
Dedicated July 4, 1839 and heralded as the first cast iron, metal arch bridge built in the United States. It was designed by Captain Richard Delafield of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Constructed between 1836 and 1839 on the National Road in Brownsville, PA, it is still in use today. The bridge has received five historical and engineering awards and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Brownsville, PA, originally called Redstone Old Fort, was a frequent point of embarkation for travelers who were heading west via the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. Brownsville’s position at the western end of the National Road contributed to its early prosperity, along with its easy access to the Monongahela where a vast flatboat and later steamboat building industry developed during the 19th century. This access to the river provided a “jumping off” point for settlers headed into the western frontier.
The tenth Madonna of the Trail Monument dedication was held December 8, 1928. The Nemacolin Country Club deeded land to the DAR National Old Trails Committee for the site. This location is approximately 15 miles east of Washington, Pennsylvania, on U.S. Route 40. The Pennsylvania State Daughters of the American Revolution members restored the statue in 1990 and rededicated the monument in June of that year. A bronze DAR emblem and a plaque have been added to the base.
The Beallsville Historic District is an intact pike town with the history of commerce and transportation on the National Road. The district is one of the finest examples of a pike town on the National Road in Pennsylvania with a large number of surviving early 19th-century buildings lining the streets. From the time of the National Road’s completion in 1818, Beallsville prospered as a stop for the tens of thousands of wagons and coaches carrying goods and passengers to the western frontier.
The historic Century Inn was built in 1794 and is the oldest continuously operating inn on the National Road. Formerly known as Hill’s Tavern, the inn hosted some of the most prominent figures in American history, including presidents George Washington, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and statesman Henry Clay. It was a popular overnight stop for stagecoaches during the late 1700’s and well into the 1800’s.
The LeMoyne House in the City of Washington is Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark of the Underground Railroad. Only seven other such sites exist in the entire United States. Built in 1812, the structure was the residence of Dr. F. Julius LeMoyne and was a center of antislavery activity in southwestern Pennsylvania from the 1830s through the end of slavery.
A National Historic Landmark located in Washington, PA, the David Bradford House was built in 1788 and was home to the Whiskey Rebellion, the first domestic challenge to the new American government. The Whiskey Rebellion was the first test of federal authority in the young republic. It demonstrated the willingness and ability of the federal government to enforce its laws. It also established a precedent when President Washington called up state militias for federal purposes.
An engineering feat of the National Road, S-Bridges were constructed early in the 19th century. Constructing a bridge at an angle was much more complicated and expensive than building the bridge perpendicular to the water flow and banks. Therefore, the bridges were constructed at 90 degrees to the bank then two ‘aprons’ were constructed at opposite angles to direct the traffic flow smoothly onto the bridge, thus creating the ‘s’ shape.
West Alexander is a small rural borough at the western edge of Washington County and the last pike town on the Historic National Road in PA. It contains many intact ornate commercial and residential buildings, mostly dating from 1860-1880. Most of them remaining very much intact. There are also several stark, brick buildings which date from the first half century of the town’s development (1790 until about 1860). West Alexander borough was incorporated May 21, 1873 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.