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What's In A Name...?


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#1 Steve_Colby

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 05:24 PM

OK. To paraphrase Popeye "That's all that I can stand and I can't stands no more!".
We, in Cumberland, MD, recently celebrated the bicentennial of the start of construction on the National Road. The problem lies in the fact it's not the bicentennial of the National Road but that of the Cumberland Road. The road that runs from Cumberland, MD to Wheeling, WV (VA then).
History will not be served until the-powers-that-be acknowledge the National Road as three separate roads, the Baltimore Pike, the Cumberland Road and the Cumberland Road West of the Ohio, each with its own intrigue and history. (They also need to understand, Rt. 40 incorporates the three roads known as the National Road but they are not one in the same.)

It's time for some historical activism and I'm ready for a fight!

~ Steve

#2 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 07:23 PM

OK. To paraphrase Popeye "That's all that I can stand and I can't stands no more!".
We, in Cumberland, MD, recently celebrated the bicentennial of the start of construction on the National Road. The problem lies in the fact it's not the bicentennial of the National Road but that of the Cumberland Road. The road that runs from Cumberland, MD to Wheeling, WV (VA then).
History will not be served until the-powers-that-be acknowledge the National Road as three separate roads, the Baltimore Pike, the Cumberland Road and the Cumberland Road West of the Ohio, each with its own intrigue and history. (They also need to understand, Rt. 40 incorporates the three roads known as the National Road but they are not one in the same.)

It's time for some historical activism and I'm ready for a fight!

~ Steve


Steve,

My ignorance must be bliss. I confess I am uninformed. I guess I live too far away to fully appreciate that which prompts you to lay down the gauntlet! Enlighten me....and by the way, good to see your post....I was worried you had gotten off the road.

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!

#3 DennyG

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:16 PM

Is there something in particular that needs correcting? As someone (who may or may not have been Voltaire) once said, "I may agree completely with what you say but I'm not gonna spend a heck of a lot of energy arguing for your position." Well, maybe that's not quite how the original quote goes but it is how I feel. The original Cumberland-Wheeling segment was indeed officially known as the Cumberland Road at its birth but much of the general public was calling it the National Road before too long. That doesn't bother me much more than people calling that big thing circling our planet the Moon instead of Luna. I don't doubt that Cumberland was also part of the official name of the road west of Wheeling but I don't recall ever thinking of it that way. I -- and Wikipedia -- call the thing that ran from Cumberland, MD, to Vandalia, IL, the National Road. I mention Wikipedia not as a scholarly authority but as an example of commonly held ideas. Neither I nor Wikipedia consider anything east of Cumberland to be part of the National Road. But I don't think of it as a single other thing either. Connecting Baltimore to Cumberland was a piecemeal operation combining roads like the Hagerstown & Conococheague Turnpike, the Cumberland Turnpike, the Boonsborough Turnpike and others. Lumping them into something called the Baltimore Pike could upset folks in Hagerstown or Boonsboro. Actually, I wasn't familiar with Baltimore Pike so resorted to Google which led me to Wikipedia and an article on a road by that name that connected Baltimore with Philidelphia. Not what you were thinking of, I'm sure.

It's important that the original and proper names are not forgotten but it's also important that a family can enjoy a history tinged drive without getting tangled in details. The only place I think I've seen a route from Baltimore to Vandalia given a single name is with the Historic National Road Byway which actually runs all the way to St Louis. I'm prepared to give some leeway to things with "Historic" or "Byway" in their names so it doesn't really bother me that this byway includes bits that were never technically part of or officially called The National Road. Maybe I'd feel different if I lived in Cumberland or Boonsboro or Luna.

#4 mobilene

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:34 AM

I understand the nature of the three sections of what is commonly called the National Road, and the perfectionist/OCD in me wants to use the accurate terms. But I have found that I get much more recognition when I call it the National Road whether I'm in Ellicott City, MD; Washington, PA; Cambridge, OH; or Marshall, IL. jim

#5 Steve_Colby

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for everyone's thoughts and replies.
As you all are aware, I've have done (and continue to do)fairly extensive research on the "National Road". The research I've done so far, seems to indicate the name "National Road" came into "common" use about 1825. This is about the same time the Baltimore to Cumberland turnpikes (privately-owned toll roads) connected with Cumberland. Officially (In legislation, both federal and state), the road from Cumberland to Wheeling was still called the "Cumberland Road". The Cumberland Road was accepted by MD & PA in 1835. According to MD State documentation, most of the Road from about Hagerstown to the PA line was abandoned. (Both county and privately owned.)

As a Road historian, my dispute is the applying of the history of the federally-funded Cumberland Road to the National Road as a whole. (For example, apples and oranges are called fruit...) The Act of 1806 authorized the CR, not the commonly-known NR. 1811 is the start date of the CR, and on and on...

My quest is to educate the public the National Road represents three separate roads, each with their own history.

~ Steve

PS I have edited the Wiki National Road page in the past and will endeavor to do it again in the near future.

#6 mobilene

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 07:41 PM

My parents own a dog they "rescued." It had been called Abby for its first year of life, but my mom decided to change it to Abigail for whatever reason. Who's to say that she needs to still be called Abby because that's what her name was originally?

I think it is worthwhile to keep pointing out that the road has three major sections, all with their own individual names. But what's the harm in calling them, collectively, the National Road?

jim

#7 Steve_Colby

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:43 AM

My parents own a dog they "rescued." It had been called Abby for its first year of life, but my mom decided to change it to Abigail for whatever reason. Who's to say that she needs to still be called Abby because that's what her name was originally?

I think it is worthwhile to keep pointing out that the road has three major sections, all with their own individual names. But what's the harm in calling them, collectively, the National Road?

jim


Jim,
There is no problem calling the combined road the (Historic) National Road... As long as the histories of the individual roads aren't applied to the whole. (Authorized by the Act of 1806, first federally-funded, etc)

~ Steve

#8 mobilene

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:21 PM

Ah, I think you're onto something there. Let's get the history of this set of roads straight. jim




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