Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘National Road-Zane Grey Museum’

National Road S-Bridges Preserved

Middlebourne Bridge 1903

Salt Fork Creek S-Bridge 1903

     Follow the trail those early pioneers took from the Ohio River to beyond New Concord and visit four S-Bridges and two stone bridges along Route 40. While you can no longer drive on any of these S-Bridges, you can walk on their bricks and think back to the difficult times those early pioneers must have faced as they headed to Ohio and westward.

S Brick Road and Stone Walls

Brick road and stone walls at Peter’s Creek

     “The Main Street of America” began as a dirt road. Next, they tried logs and many called it a Corduroy Road, but it was very rough. Crushed stone was added called macadam and finally, much of it was paved with bricks.

S Bridge diorama in Zane Grey Museum

National Road bridge diorama at National Road/Zane Grey Museum 

      The National Road was one of the first paved roads across the state of Ohio. While it began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1817, it wasn’t until 1825 that the road was built across Ohio until it reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1838. Stagecoaches and Conestoga wagons were the two most common ways of travel, but many rode horseback or walked.

     There are many reasons people say they built the S shape. Some claim it was to stop runaway horses, to go around trees or even that the builders were inebriated. The reason was simply an engineering decision.

   

S Bridge sign at Middlebourne

1938 sign on Salt Fork Creek Bridge: In memory of the pioneer who built this “S” bridge.

    Where the road crossed a creek at an angle, a stone arch bridge was built at right angles to the streamflow. “S” shaped walls of cut stone were then built to direct traffic around the jog and back into line with the road on the other side. It also made work easier for the workers as they worked from each side of the creek. The brick roadway made the bridge extra durable.

     Here is a short description of the location of each of those S-Bridges and stone bridges along the National Road in the order of their appearance from east to west.

S Blaine Hill and Viaduct

Blaine Hill S-Bridge and Viaduct

     Blaine Hill S-Bridge – Crossing Wheeling Creek near Blaine, Ohio, its three stone arches span approximately 345 feet, the longest crossing of any bridge at that time with a 6.3% grade. This eased the climb out of the valley and was a marvel of engineering. All the original precisely cut stones are there today.

S Salt Fork

Salt Fork Creek S-Bridge

     Salt Fork S-Bridge – Just east of Old Washington, you can find a well-preserved S-Bridge, which was near the town of Easton. The bridge is built of randomly laid stone giving it a road width of 26 feet. It was closed as recently as 2013.

S Bridge Cooks Run

Cooks Run Stone Bridge

     Cooks Run Stone Bridge – Only remnants remain of this abandoned stone bridge. When a new bridge was built over Cooks Run, the remains of the old bridge were left underneath. It can be seen about 500 feet off Route 40 about 2 miles east of Cambridge on the north side of the road.

Crooked Creek Stone Bridge

Crooked Creek Stone Bridge

     Crooked Creek Stone Bridge – On Manila Road, you can still drive over this Crooked Creek bridge. This is south of Route 40 on the other side of the railroad tracks across from the patrol barracks. While the entrance to the bridge has a large curve, the bridge itself is not s-shaped.

S Peters Creek

Peter’s Creek S-Bridge

      Peter’s Creek S-Bridge- This is one of those bridges that many of us pass quite often on the north side of Route 40 near Pike School at Peter’s Creek Road. There is a small park area to have a picnic or just relax.

S New Concord

Fox Run S-Bridge

     Fox Run S-Bridge – On the west side of New Concord, this bridge has been restored and a small area made into a parking and picnic area. My sons fondly remember going here with their grandfather to enjoy an ice cream treat from the New Concord ice cream stand.

DSC04532

Historic signs can be found at the S-Bridges.

     Four of these bridges have been found worthy of restoration to preserve the history of our ancestors while others have disappeared. This road was the only link between the east coast and the western frontier during the 19th century. There were four tollhouses in Guernsey County to help with the great expense of building this highway. Congress spent almost $7 million building this 620-mile road.

     In 1832 a sample of tolls was listed as:

Score of sheep or hogs……$.05

Score of cattle……………….$.10

Horse and rider………………$.04

Sulky drawn by one horse.$.08

Chariot or coach…………….$ .12 1/2

S Wheeling Creek

Blaine S-Bridge over Wheeling Creek

     Take a historic ride along Route 40 in Ohio starting at Blaine, where you can see the history of the developing highway that Abraham Lincoln traveled on trips from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Beside the Blaine S-Bridge is the BlaineViaduct which was built when the S-Bridge could no longer handle all the auto traffic. Just a short distance to the south you will find today’s I-70. From the S-Bridge, you can clearly see the three generations of our national highway system.

     Move on to Old Washington and end east of New Concord to view the route of those early pioneers. Imagine the wagons loaded with goods and crops as they traveled the Old National Trail. Perhaps you would have enjoyed being on the road at that time or maybe you would prefer the comfort of today’s travel.

National Road – Zane Grey Museum

Zane Grey Museum

The Zane Grey Museum was originally constructed to resemble a frontier fort.

Three pieces of history are superbly woven together at the National Road – Zane Grey Museum between New Concord and Zanesville, Ohio along old Route 40. Learn about the road to the West, famous author Zane Grey, and Zanesville potteries.

Way back in 1811, Ebenezer Zane discussed with George Washington the need for a road across the newly settled country. Washington agreed it was vital to the future of the country so proclaimed, “Open a wide door, and make a smooth Way.” That began Zane’s Trace, which became part of the National Road.

Zane Grey Crossing

Diorama sections show their difficult work in constructing The National Road over streams.

The museum presents a detailed 136′ diorama depicting life on the original National Road, often called “The Main Street of America”. All the figures are hand made from clay and accurate down to the tiniest detail.  The first road was dirt, followed by the Corduroy Road made of logs, making it very rough. Eventually a stone foundation was in place with crushed stone on the top, and finally bricks

Zane Grey Ferries

Ferries took wagons and supplies across the Ohio River.

Every mile a stone mile marker gave travelers information on mileage to various towns along the way. A Gunter Chain, 66′ long, was used to measure the distance of one mile time and time again. If you moved the 66′ chain X 80 times = 5,280 ‘, the distance of one mile. The Gunter Chain also measured the distance across the road – 66’.

Zane Grey Diorama

Logs formed the Corduroy Road, a rough stretch to travel.

After WWI, Dwight Eisenhower led a convoy of trucks across the National Road, and during WWII, General Eisenhower discovered the Autobahn in Germany. When he became president he felt it of high importance to develop better highways in America. Thus began our interstate highway system.

Zane Grey Stop

The 10 Mile House provided refreshments along the highway. Baker’s Motel is located on that spot today.

Pearl Zane Grey, being born in Zanesville, traveled this road frequently. His early writing attempts were squelched by his father, who insisted that Zane attend the University of Pittsburgh so he could be a dentist and follow in his father’s footsteps. Zane did graduate with a degree in dentistry after enjoying a time of pitching his great curve ball on the college baseball team, where he enjoyed a full baseball scholarship.

When he married Dolly, her encouragement and editing abilities, along with a nice inheritance, made it possible for Zane to abandon his dental practice and begin following his passions…writing and fishing.

Zane Grey Study

Zane Grey wrote his books by hand in his study, surrounded by native American items he had collected in his travels.

His first book was Betty Zane, the story of a young girl who helped save Fort Henry. But it was Riders of the Purple Sage that put popularity into Grey’s writings. His books sold like hot cakes. Zane wrote all his stories in long hand, then his wife, Dolly, typed them and had them published. Many were turned into movies.

Zane enjoyed fishing more than anything else and spent over 300 days a year at that sport. He split the money from the books with Dolly, and he spent his half on fishing, boats, and travel. When he traveled out West, he filled his tablets with descriptions of the scenes he saw, for use in his stories.

Zane Grey fishing

Big-game fishing was the real passion in his life.

The only books that sold more copies than Grey’s at that time were the Bible and school primers. Hemingway was quite jealous of Grey, not because of his successful writing career, but because of his great fishing ability. Zane’s love of the great out-of-doors can be seen in all of his books through his detailed descriptions. 

Now how does the fantastic collection of pottery fit in? The perfect clay for making pottery could be found in this area quite easily – in dirt roads, such as the National Road, which had clay as their base. Potters would go out to the road and dig up a small portion of clay to make a vase or bowl. This became known as a “potters’ hole”. Thus the term we use today for a hole in the road – “pot hole”.

Zane Grey Pottery

This is a small section of the Zanesville Pottery collection on display.

But the collection goes beyond those humble beginnings and includes the work of over 132 potteries in the Zanesville area. Thousands of workers contributed to this large display, which was originally the collection of Mr. Downey, the owner of Conn’s Potato Chips. Upon his death, half of his pottery was given to the Zane Grey Museum for display, while the other half is in the Zanesville Museum of Art.

Zane Grey Model T

Find surprises along the way like this Model T Ford.

Next time you travel along the Old National Road, today’s Route 40, stop at the National Road – Zane Grey Museum and watch a film about the life of Zane Grey. The knowledgeable guides will lead you down the road to books, movies, pottery…and some surprises along the way.

National Road – Zane Grey Museum is located on old Route 40 about a half mile from I-70, Exit 164, Norwich Exit. The museum is located between New Concord and Zanesville, Ohio.

 

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