Press Release: National Road 200th Anniversary & Ribbon Cutting for Old National Road Condos

Press Release

Save the Date:
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
1023-1059 E. Main St.
Columbus, OH 43205

Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Construction of the National Road and Ribbon Cutting for Old National Road Condominiums

(Columbus, OH, April 5, 2011) The Ohio National Road Association, in partnership
with Columbus Compact Corporation, will host the City of Columbus’ celebration
of the Bicentennial of the start of construction of the Historic National Road
on May 4, 2011 during which we will be dedicating our community’s 200th year
anniversary gift to this All-American Road: a ribbon-cutting for the newly
renovated historic homes and a memorial park in Olde Towne East.

View full invitation to ribbon cutting here.

This six-state National Road Bicentennial celebration will begin on May 2nd in
Vandalia, Illinois, the western terminus of the National Road, America’s first
Federally-funded interstate highway. A procession of vintage vehicles will be
traveling east from Illinois through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and
Pennsylvania, before arriving at the Road’s eastern terminus at Cumberland,
Maryland for a May 7th celebration finale. As the procession approaches state
lines, the next state will “pick up the bells” – a symbolic representation of
the bells that adorned the Conestoga wagons and stage coaches that brought
settlers and commerce to the newly-opened west, starting in 1811.

The Ohio National Road Association (ONRA) will “pick up the bells” in Richmond,
Indiana on May 3rd. A caravan of Model A, Model T, and other vintage cars, will
carry the bells to Englewood, Ohio for an overnight stay. They will be leaving
for Columbus at 7:30AM on May 4th, with plans to arrive in Franklinton, central
Ohio’s oldest settled community, at National Road Mile Marker #260 near Tommy’s
Diner (914 W. Broad Street) at 9:00AM. Here a horse-drawn wagon will join the
caravan through eastern Franklinton, downtown Columbus, and into Olde Towne
East, following the historic alignment of the Road from West Broad Street, to
South High Street, to East Main Street. Local historians will narrate this tour
for invited special guests.

Once through downtown, the procession will travel to the Old National Road
Condominiums, located at 1023 -1059 E. Main Street in the historic Olde Towne
East neighborhood between 22nd and Ohio avenues. There, the Compact and ONRA
will unveil Columbus’ 200th year gift to the National Road: newly renovated
condominium units in 1890’s era houses and a National Road commemorative park in
the development. These homes are the first historic rehabs in the City of
Columbus developed under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards for
sustainable design and energy efficiency. These two and three bedroom
condominium units feature 1,211 to 1,496 square feet of finished space, with
historic pocket doors and wood trim and contemporary finishes. Included in the
May 4, 2011 celebration will be the dedication of a plaque honoring the history
of the National Road, and ribbon cuttings for the newly renovated houses.

Continuing westward on the National Road after the ribbon cutting, a classic El
Camino will “pick up the bells” from the carriage before zooming on to the
National Trail Raceway near Hebron in Licking County, where they will be joined
by larger vintage trucks. The procession will carry the bells to Zanesville
later in the day.
The National Road was originally conceived by President George Washington as an
all-weather road that would bridge the Allegheny Mountains. A bill authorizing
the Road was signed into law by President Thomas Jefferson in 1806, and the
National Road became the new nation’s first Federally-funded interstate highway.
From Cumberland, Maryland where construction began on May 7, 1811, the Road
stretches over 700 miles to Vandalia, Illinois near East St. Louis. The National
Road entered eastern Ohio in 1825, and was built through Columbus in 1833. The
historic route of the National Road entered Columbus from the east on Friend
Street (now Main Street), ran west down Main Street until turning north on High
Street at the Great Southern Hotel and Theater, then turned west onto Broad
Street and crossed the newly-built, toll-free Broad Street bridge before
departing Columbus through Franklinton to the west.

The Road immediately attracted travelers and commerce, opening the state and
much of the Old Northwest Territory to settlement, provided access for Ohio
products to the burgeoning eastern markets, and enabled Ohio citizens to play an
important role in the affairs of the new nation. At its time, an interstate
highway was politically controversial, and resolution of the constitutional
issues over Federal funding of the Road was critical in defining the powers of
the young nation’s Federal government for the future. It has been called “The
Road that Built the Nation,” and is designated as both a National Scenic Byway
and an All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration. The All-American
Road designation means the National Road is one of 31 roads that have features
that do not exist elsewhere in the United States and that are scenic enough to
be tourist destinations unto themselves. The National Road, known as “Main
Street, U.S.A.”, has played a major role in shaping American history, culture,
and lore.

Columbus Compact Corporation and the Ohio National Road Association cordially
invite you to attend this event: Columbus’ recognition of the 200th year of the
start of construction of the National Road, and our dedication and gift in honor
of that occasion – newly renovated 1890’s era housing signaling the Road’s
rebirth for the coming two centuries.

For more information, call ONRA’s Marian Vance at (614) 570-7504 or visit ONRA’s
web site at Jonathan Beard of Columbus Compact
Corporation can be reached at (614) 251-0926 ext. 201, or at or

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