National Road in Illinois, The
The marker is located east of Vandalia in a turnout on the north side US 40, east of Kaskakia River.
No coordinates identified
Division of Highways and The Illinois State Historical Society
The National Road was the result of the project of Albert Gallatin to unite the East and West. His plan to allocate money from public land sales for this purpose was incorporated into the Ohio Enabling Act in 1802. The original road, as proposed in 1805 and authorized by Thomas Jefferson in 1806, was to extend from the Potomac to the Ohio. Construction began in 1811 and by 1818 the road was completed to Wheeling, Virginia. Two years later Congress agreed to extend the road and allocated funds for a survey through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The route from the Indiana line to Vandalia, approximately 89 miles long was surveyed in 1827. In 1830 Congress appropriated $40,000 for opening and grading the Illinois section. Additional money was granted each year thereafter, but was limited to clearing, grading, and bridging. Construction problems and corrupt practices resulted in the project's being placed under the Army Corps of Engineers in 1834. The road was opened to Vandalia in 1839; however, the Illinois section remained an unfinished surface with only 31 miles of grading and masonry completed. The road had been surveyed to Jefferson City, Missouri but in 1840 Congress terminated construction at Vandalia. On May 9, 1856, Congress transferred the 'Rights and Priveleges' connected with the road in Illinois to the state. It became a part of the 'National Old Trails Road' in the early twentieth century and was, until recently, a part of US 40.
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