ST. CLAIRSVILLE The Ohio National Road Association unveiled its newest Ohio National Road interpretive sign located at the corner of Main & Marietta Streets near the Cavalry Presbyterian Church and on National Road near St. Clair Auto Parts. The sign depicts the landscape of St. Clairsville and the original Brick Road.
The unveiling is part of an initiative to install interpretive signs across the state. A federal grant of $200,000 will cover 65 signs, with 37 completed and installed so far in the third year of the program. The original National Road extended from Baltimore to St. Louis.
"This is a very historic road. That's what we're trying to perpetuate," said Mike Pepe, Franklin County chair of the signage committee.
T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK
Members of the Ohio National Road Association and representatives of St. Clairsville unveil one of two markers commemorating the historic roadway. Pictured are: Mayor Robert Vincenzo; Ed Wagstaff; Kathy Nelson; Doc Householder; Mike Pepe; Service Director Dennis Bigler and Dr. John Mattox.
Mile markers will also be restored, beginning in Franklin and Madison Counties.
Mayor Robert Vincenzo welcomed all present and spoke about the privilege of being located on the National Highway. He added that he hopes the markers will remind residents of the rich history of their town.
Gabe Hayes, local landscaper and one of the Ohio representatives who established the initiative, spoke about his pride in the community and all the National Road Association has accomplished. He pointed out the curbstones from 1906 that are placed around the sign.
He noted other projects including a plan to place a marker at the St. Benjamin Lundy building. The Friends of Freedom Society has offered to put up $1,200 in matching funds.
Service Director Dennis Bigler noted the street is a feature of the community and the growth of the region.
"We're standing next to what is arguably the most historic roadway in America, and we just take if for granted every day," he said, thanking the National Road Association. He noted other efforts to enhance the area, including the National Historic District and the Architectural Board of Review. Arthur St. Clair was commemorated with a marker and a corridor management plan was included in the zoning code.
Doug Smith, president of the National Railroad Association, gave a history of the road. Ground was broken close to two centuries ago. On the same day, ground was broken for the Ohio and Lake Eerie Canal.
"Arguably the most important day in transportation history in Ohio was July 4, 1825," he said, adding that the road and canal were eventually superseded by railroads.
For more details concerning the Ohio National Road Interpretive sign unveilings or to learn about other upcoming events, visit www.ohionationalroad.org or call (740) 670-5201.
DeFrank can be reached at email@example.com