Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Old National Trail’

Middlebourne – Half Way Between on the Old National Road

Middlebourne Entrance

Today Middlebourne is a small, quiet town but still has businesses at the edge of town.

The small town of Middlebourne, originally called Middletown, was relatively centrally located between Zanesville and Wheeling along the Old National Trail, today known as Route 40. When Benjamin Masters discovered that the National Trail was going to run right through his farm, he laid out a town believing that it would be a prosperous place.

That Old National Trail is often considered to be the road that helped build the nation. It was the nation’s first interstate highway crossing six states as it stretched from Maryland to Illinois.

Hays Tavern 001

In 1826, Hays Tavern was one of the best known hostelries on Turnpike Street in Middlebourne.

In 1828, William Hays established Hays Tavern, a hotel and barroom in Middlebourne. It was one of the best known hostelries on the National Trail, also called Turnpike Street, because of its bountiful meals, barroom, barns for wagoners, and lots for the drovers’ stock. Even Henry Clay stopped here occasionally on his way from Kentucky to Washington.

Bridgewater Bridge 001

The stone Bridgewater S Bridge, just west of town, was built in 1828.

A popular stop along the way just west of Middlebourne was the Bridgewater S Bridge built in 1828. When a bridge was needed to cross a stream at an angle, they built a stone arch at right angles to the stream. Then added a curve at each end to make the road meet smoothly. Thus, the S Bridge, which saved money and was a stronger structure.

Their first post office was established in 1829 and operated unto 1917. At this point, the name was officially changed from Middletown, which was also the name of a larger town in Ohio, to Middlebourne.

By 1850, their population was 267 and it grew for a while after that. The village had several stores, three or four churches, doctors, a lawyer, and even a brass band. But when the railroad was built six miles south of town, population seemed to wane. Eventually Route 40 and I-70 bypassed Middlebourne.

Middlebourne Methodist Church

The Middlebourne Methodist Church recently celebrated their 160th Anniversary. Standing in front are Edith Carter, Paul Carter, and Beverly Watson, all faithful members of the church.

The Middlebourne Methodist Church was founded in 1840, but the church was actually built in 1857. A unique feature of the church is its double doors in the front. At that time, women were to enter the church through the door on the right, while men entered through the door at the left. Inside their hand hewed pews had a divider between them to keep the women and men separate inside the sanctuary. The divider has been removed – in some of the pews.

At that time, preachers who delivered sermons in various towns were called circuit riders. Middlebourne services were conducted by circuit riders in the homes of various members until the church became a reality.

Middlebourne Prayer Bears

Edith Carter holds a Prayer Bear, a special project of their church today for the sick and injured who need a hug.

Many walked to church back then, while others drove their horse and buggy. The Old National Road, today’s Route 40, ran in front of the church, so often there might be a herd of cattle or sheep passing by along with a wagon train.

Paul Carter, who grew up in Middlebourne, is the oldest member of the Methodist Churh. When he was a youngster, there were about a hundred people in the congregation and six Sunday School classes scattered around the church sanctury. He remembers delivering the Daily Jeffersonian to his customers in Middlebourne for 18 cents a week back in 1947.

Middlebourne Sign 001Residents recall hearing stories about people getting stuck on the muddy National Road when rains poured down. Local farmers would then pull those early cars out of the mud with their horses for a fee. One local jokester would sometimes pour barrels of water on the road to make it muddy, so he could make money pulling cars out.

Charles Ellis Moore, a U.S. Representative from Ohio, was born near Middlebourne in 1884. Moore taught school in Oxford Township and graduated from Muskingum College and OSU School of Law. He also served as Prosecuting Attorney for Guernsey County before becoming representative from 1919-1933. Bob Secrest succeeded him.

Locust Lodge

In the 1930s when the automobile became more popular, Hays Tavern became Locus Lodge, a Home for Tourists.

Door of Penn Tavern 001

The doorway of Penn Tavern was said to be one of the most unique doorways on the National Road.

Middlebourne Church inside

The only original building is the Methodist Church.

The only original building left in town is the Middlebourne Methodist Church, which recently celebrated their 160th anniversary. While attendance has dwindled, they still love their little church. Small country churches always hold special memories.

Take a country ride and enjoy the small town atmosphere of Middlebourne. Folks are friendly there!

Middlebourne, Ohio is located just off I-70 at Exit 193 along the North side of the highway.

Advertisements

Tag Cloud