Why is this site important? The National Road was early America’s busiest land artery to the West. The National Road stretched from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois. Begun in 1806, the “Main Street of America” was the only significant land link between the east coast and the western frontier in the early 19th century. It was the dream of Washington and Jefferson, and was needed to move crops and goods between the East and West and help immigration.
Zane Grey is the Father of the Adult Western. Born in Zanesville in 1872, Grey wrote more than 80 books. His study is re-created in the museum and includes many manuscripts and other personal memorabilia. Many years later, when all the posthumous works were finally published, it was discovered he penned about 60 are Westerns, 9 concerning fishing, 3 tracing the fate of the Ohio Zanes, and the rest being short story collections, a biography of the young George Washington, juvenile fiction and baseball stories. His novels are still popular today.
The ceramic heritage of the area is featured in the central area of the museum, and exhibits commercial art pottery and decorative tile produced by the district’s most significant potteries, including Weller, Owens, Cambridge and Roseville. Although a number of American firms upheld the tenets of the arts and crafts movement, from which art pottery grew during the late 19th century, the Zanesville area potteries sometimes modified aesthetic qualities with commercial production techniques. The quality and popularity of these products made Zanesville the undisputed national center of art pottery during the early 20th century.
What to know about the site:
The National Road was the first federally sponsored improved major road in the USA. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811, crossed the Allegheny Mountains, reaching the Ohio River in 1818. It continued through Ohio and in 1837 stopped construction at Vandalia, Illinois due to funding shortages.
The National Road Museum is known for their guided tours. There is so much to share that came about during the development of the national road that has come into our metaphoric language. Tour guides will illustrate what it means when someone says they have arrived with “all of their bells on.” Visit the National Road Museum to find out how bartering bells for repairs on the National Road was a common practice.
The exhibits speak to the history of the road and its building, transportation – like wagons and cars and the construction methods. A 136-foot diorama of the National Road with many accompanying objects, illustrates what it was like to travel on the National Road from its beginning when the first tree was felled, to the mid 20th century. The diorama is in 3/8th scale and measures 136 foot. It allows children and adults the chance to imagine daily life on the road during different time periods and gives them an opportunity to relate these experiences to their lives.
Pearl Zane Gray was born on January 31, 1872, in Zanesville, Ohio. Zanesville was a town founded by his mother's ancestors. (The spelling of the Gray family name was changed to "Grey" sometime during the late 1890s.) As a youth in Ohio, he developed interests in fishing, baseball and writing. All three pursuits would later bring him acclaim.
Grey's baseball prowess led to a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania's Dental Department. He graduated in 1896 with a degree in dentistry, but chose to play amateur baseball for several seasons, practicing dentistry intermittently. He established his own dental practice in New York City in 1898.
Ohio was the center of pottery production due to good waterways and an abundance of raw materials, Ohio's natural gas deposits in Zanesville combined with rich clay provided an ideal foundation for local potteries and gave Zanesville its nickname, "clay city". During its heyday, Ohio pottery establishments numbered 30. The products were sold in fine department stores and considered ideal gifts for weddings and other significant occasions.
Ohio Art Pottery can be characterized as a close-knit industry of artists and potters who were given often switched allegiance, going to work for the competition. As a result, there are a lot of similarities in design and style among the many companies. This industry is also reflective of improved opportunities in the workplace for women, as the advent of modern inventions such as sewing machines and commercially prepared foods enabled women to pursue other activities including artistic professions.
Key things do see or do while visiting the site: While in the area, see the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site. The highlights are its living history characters who take you thorough John Glenn’s boyhood home as though you are visiting during the Great Depression or in 1944 during WWII.
See the famous “S” shaped bridge in nearby Cambridge and the “Y” bridge in Zanesville
If you are heading east or west, continue on the National Road, US Route 40.
And you can always go antiquing!
Another Place, Another Time: Paving the Way
$75 cost to be determined
30 students, in appropriate clothing with work gloves, Teachers and leaders to assist.
Uses the diorama as visual aid. Entire group gets background and orientation in early American road building techniques. Divided in 2 groups- stone road construction crew & brick road construction crew. Each elects a foreman (gets instruction to their job as job overseer). Next go outside (if weather allows). Stone crew builds their paving replica and brick performs basic surveying techniques. After lunch break the groups switch duties. At end of program they return inside to recap their experiences and each receives a remembrance of their experience to take home.
Anniversary of the beginning of National with many to follow.
Scenic Byways and All- American Road
To be designated as a National Scenic Byway, a road must possess at least one of these six intrinsic qualities (historic, cultural, natural, scenic, recreational, archaeological). The features contributing to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor's intrinsic qualities must possess regional significance. To receive an All-American Road designation, a road must possess multiple intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant and contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The road must also be considered a "destination unto itself.”
Location: 8850 East Pike
Norwich, OH 43767
The National Road Museum is just north of I-70 at exit 164, on US Route 40. It is 10 miles east of Zanesville.
May 1 through October 31 Monday and Tuesday – closed
Wednesday – Saturday 10am to 4pm
Sunday 1pm – 4pm
November 1 – April 30 – Closed or by appointment
$7 adults; $6 seniors; $3 students of all ages
Free for Ohio Historical Society members
Blue Star Museum
Step Into Yesteryear Pass provides your with tickets for both the National Road Museum and the John and Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord.
Pass is $10 for adults, $5 for students
The National Road Museum is managed by the John and Annie Glenn Museum Foundation located at:
72 W. Main Street
New Concord, Ohio, 43762
Links: Facebook – John and Annie Glenn Museum Foundation