National Geographic : 1961 Jul
From Sea to Shining Sea arrive on the scene. By 1818 the history-mak ing highway stands completed all the way to Wheeling! Now, almost a century and a half later, U. S. 40 still follows essentially the same route. At tollhouses and taverns dating from early days, we learned what it was like to travel this road in a Conestoga freighter or a Concord coach. The freighters, whose wider wheels were less damaging to the gravel sur face, paid 5 or 6 cents for 10 miles, while the average passenger vehicle paid 16 cents. Din ners were 25 cents, a shot of whisky 3 cents. Tolls were charged by the States, which had taken over highway maintenance from the Federal Government. Deterioration set in a few years later. The road was so rough at one spot in Pennsylvania that when Ken tucky's Henry Clay rode over it, his carriage upset and he fell onto the gravel. The suave statesman dusted himself off, with the obser vation, "This is mixing the Clay of Ken tucky with the limestone of Pennsylvania." Father's Flivver Tames a Mountain Crossing into the Keystone State, we paused at the top of Chestnut Ridge near Uniontown, with a four-mile downgrade ahead. I told my children about another trav eler in difficulty on this slope - my father. In 1926, in a Model-T Ford, he brought his brood from Missouri to Washington, D. C. It took him more than an hour to climb this slope we were now descending. Father tromped down harder and harder on the clutch to keep the low-gear band en gaged. His knee cried out and his leg gradu ally turned to stone, but he didn't dare take his foot off the pedal and lose what little momentum we had. The engine labored Whizzing Cars on U. S. 40 Bypass an Old S Bridge in Eastern Ohio Once numerous, S bridges date from an era when a horse and buggy rarely exceeded ten miles an hour. To save time and materials, builders bridged streams at right angles, often necessitating S curves in the roads. The coming of automobiles turned the spans into deathtraps. Erected about 1829, this structure crosses Fox Creek near New Concord. KODACHROMEBY RALPH GRAY, NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC STAFF © N.G.S.