Follow the migration of the nation. The nation's first interstate highway, however, was built at a time when vehicles were typically "one-horse" power! Established by an act of Congress in 1806, the Old National Road made its way westward from Maryland in 1811 to western Illinois, where it was completed in 1832.
Its construction through Indiana preceded most Hoosier cities, hence its nickname "America's Main Street," as cities sprang up along its path. Enterprising pioneers recognized the need for inns, blacksmith shops and grocers, and settlers keen on cashing in on National Road traffic often offered their land to the government for free. It's reported that as many as 200 wagons a day passed through the towns along the route.
Today, travelers along Indiana's historic National Road (a National Scenic Byway) will see landscapes marked by the heyday of the 1840s to the 1940s. Historic villages with traditional Main Streets give way to rural pastures. Historic architecture and early nineteenth century farms still grace the route and is truly a symbol of days past.
What to see along the Byway --
Check out the interpretive panels along the route, a total of 15 from Richmond through Indianapolis to just west of Terre Haute (156 miles) There are 4 panels located in Wayne County. Each panel is thematic and each tells a portion of the road's significance.
Panel 1 - located at the Old National Road Welcome Center, 5701 National Road East., Richmond
Panel 2 - located at the entrance of Glen Miller Park, 2200 block of E. Main St., Richmond
Panel 3 - located in front of the Centerville Library, 126 E. Main St., Centerville
Panel 4 - located at the Huddleston Farmhouse Inn Museum, 838 National Rd. W., Cambridge City.
In Centerville, marvel at the 1830 brick rowhouses archways (5 still remain). This rare architecture is not found elsewhere in Indiana.
Madonna of the Trail - In commemoration of pioneer mothers of the covered wagon days, this statue is the 9th link in the Great National Shrine erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution along the National Road Trail. There are only 12 statues linked along the National Road from Maryland to California.