Touch of History 2017-06-09T17:32:46+00:00

National Road Sculpture Tour

To Interpret the numerous resources and stories of the National Road and enhance the educational experience for visitors traveling its route, a select number of historic locations have been supplemented with full-sized, outdoor sculptures that are viewable and accessible year-round.

The Sculptures include a watchful toll keeper at the Old Petersburg Toll House, a thoughtful Thomas Jefferson and Albert Gallatin planning the construction of the National Road in Uniontown, a young drover leading his sheep to market at the Searight Toll House, three determined rebels organizing the Whiskey Rebellion, and a collection of authentic letters and diary entries written by early pioneers and travelers on the National Road on display at the Historic Summit Inn.  The bronze and stainless steel figures help bring to life the stories of the National Road and the people, places and actions that forever changed a nation.

A Touch of History

The Whiskey Rebellion – In 1791, responding to the first federal tax ever laid on an American product, gangs of rebels began to attack federal officials in a revolt that become known as the Whiskey Rebellion.  To the hard-bitten people of America’s new western frontier, the tax paralyzed their local economies while swelling the coffers of greedy creditors and industrialists.  To President George Washington, the uprising threatened American sovereignty and deployed the newly-established federal Army to defeat the public revolution.  ( located on South Main Street in Washington PA )

Off to Market – After 1838, when the Federal Government no longer appropriated funds for National Road maintenance.  Pennsylvania and other states commissioned and built tollhouses and began collecting fees based on the type of vehicle traveling the road and the type animals that were being led to market.  Stagecoach drivers, wagoners and rovers crowded the inns and taverns along the route and traders hauled produce from frontier farms to the East Coast, returning with staples such as coffee and sugar for the western settlements.  (Located at Searight Toll House on US Route 40 in Uniontown PA)

Jefferson & Gallatin -In 1803, as President Thomas Jefferson realized that in order the United States to reach its full potential, it must expand westward and be facilitated by the central government, he turned to his Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, who formulated the plan to construct the National Road.  Working behind the scenes, Gallatin devised a workable solution where the states would exempt federal land sales from taxation and earmark a percentage of the proceeds for road building.  (located at Eberly Square, Main Street, Uniontown PA)

The Toll Keeper – The Old Petersburg Toll House, located in Addison is authentic reflection of what domestic life was like for the toll collector and his family  In 1841, Toll Collector William Condon, who lived the house with his family, reported receiving a total of $1,758.87 in tolls for that year.  His salary was $200.00 plus free living quarters.  (located at Addison Toll House in Addison, PA)

Letters from the Road – Letters written by early pioneers, historic figures, and travelers along the National Road have documented the route’s revolutionary history and provided a view of life in early America and its challenging, often treacherous and dangerous western expansion.  Several of these letters and diary excerpts have been reproduced in a permanent outdoor exhibit in the front lawn area of the Historic Summit Inn.