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Telling the Story

National Road Designation

The Historic National Road is the name now given to one of America's most historically significant highways, constructed during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and ultimately linking Baltimore, Maryland and Vandalia, Illinois. It was a system of private turnpikes and state built roads, complemented with a federally funded road between Cumberland, Maryland and Wheeling, West Virginia.

The National Road linked not only cities, but also cultures in America's push to the west. The State of Maryland, through its agents--Office of Planning, Office of Tourism Development, State Highway Administration, Maryland Historical Trust, and Department of Natural Resources has developed a Corridor Partnership Plan as part of a six state effort to gain All America Road designation for the Historic National Road.

Another key partner in this effort is a volunteer Citizens Advisory Group, which, in part, includes Greenway members.

What does this plan mean for the Patapsco Heritage Greenway?

  1. There are common goals.Many of the historical and cultural preservation and interpretation goals of the Corridor Partnership Plan are within the scope of the Greenways goals. Most notably, Catonsville and Ellicott City are key components of the National Road and remain so for the Greenway. Cooperation in preservation and interpretation actions would make the best use of scarce resources while maintaining consistency and maximizing publicity.
  2. The Maryland Scenic Byways Program, which includes the Historic National Road, provides resources for identifying and developing Linkages between the primary tourism route with neighboring target areas which highlight natural, cultural, and historical assets. The Patapsco Heritage Greenway has already been identified as a major target.


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