The Start of the National Road
Journeys into Ellicott City
Ellicott City's connection to industry and the railroad garner the most attention hwne speakibng of local history.
Less renowned but of equal signbificance is that Ellicott City is situated at the start of the one time National Road.
The Historic National Road was the nation's first federally funded interstate highway. It opened the nation to the west and became a corridor for the movement of goods and people.
This about the National Road and Ellicott City:
Before the American Revolution, three Quaker brothers moved from Pennsylvania to build the first of their two flour mills on the Patapsco River. John, Joseph, and Andrew Ellicott established Ellicott's Mills in 1772. To ensure that they had wheat for their mills and flour to market, the Ellicotts then either built or financed a network of farm roads that ultimately became the Baltimore to Frederick Turnpike, which eventually became the Historic National Pike. Ellicott City grew to be the largest flour milling center in the colonies, and the turnpike saw a heavy flow of wagon and coach traffic.
Commencing in 1806 it was built in segments by city, state, federal, and private means and was the first great commercial and travel link from Baltimore to the west. It was built by International Right of Way Association, Potomac Chapter No. 14 and the Maryland Historical Society,
A marker stands on a part of the right of way of the Road in town , located at the intersection of Main Street (Maryland Route 144) and Ellicott Mills Drive, on the right when traveling west on Main Street.
Many histories on the topic of the National Road speak of the start to the west as Cumberland, Maryland. The marker below tells a different.
Image Credit: Historic Marker Database