What Kind of Banjo
Do I Want?
to the Banjo?
Circle of Fifths
How to Give
Did God Really
Give Rock &
Roll to You?
The Story Behind
the Story - Real
About the Play
The musical "If the Creek Don't Rise" tells the "story" of the American
heartland by portraying a family that
has lived and traveled along the National Road for nearly two centuries.
The National Road was the first federally funded interstate road, starting in western Maryland and heading west through a corner of Pennsylvania, then across Ohio and Indiana and beyond. Its construction was authorized by Congress in 1806 and begun in 1811. The road was critical to the early development of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as many states further west. Although the federal money ran out in Illinois in the 1830s, extensions to the road continued westward. Sections were still dubbed "National Road" through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah.
The National Road eventually brought millions of settlers westward into the plain states and beyond.
Although the growing prominence of railroads reduced the road's importance in the mid-to-late 1800's, the rise of the automobile restored it. In 1926, most of the original National Road and its extensions were renamed "US Route 40." At one time Route 40 spanned the continent, though the span west of Salt Lake City was decomissioned after the interstates were completed.
Today, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois have designated surviving segments of the "Old National Road" as a "National Road Corridor," parts of which have earned, or are under consideration for the National Scenic Byway designation. Plans are already underway to celebrate the 200th birthday of the National Road (or "birthdays," if you take into consideration that the road's construction from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois took over thirty years).
Links to helpful sites include:
- Creek Donít Rise - The Story Behind the Story - Real People, Places, and Events - A review of the historical background of western Clark County, Ohio, including how such events as the building of the National Road affected area history and the story of the play If The Creek Don't Rise.
- Frank Brusca's Route 40 - National Road Web Site - Get history, a driving guide, special events, places, museums, road organizations and a photo gallery of this historic national highway.
- The NPS National Road page The National Road/Fort Necessity site of the National Parks Service - provides a succinct history of the National Road and Route 40.
National Road/Zane Grey Museum - This museum in Norwich, Ohio (near Zanesville), includes a 136 foot diorama of the National Road.
- The National Road Corridor Management Plan - The Ohio Historic Preservation Office has partnered with communities along the Road to develop a Corridor Management Plan so that it will be eligible for National Scenic Byway designation.
- National Road Association of Illinois
Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you come away with some great ideas for "sharing the joy."
And please stay in touch!
- Paul Race
All material, illustrations, and content of this web site is copyrighted © 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.
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