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Sign describes legacy of National Road


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Driving into the past: The new sign, at the corner of State and Main streets, in front of city hall, describes the history of one of the first national highways. Fifteen of the signs are going up along U.S. 40 in Indiana. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)
Driving into the past: The new sign, at the corner of State and Main streets, in front of city hall, describes the history of one of the first national highways. Fifteen of the signs are going up along U.S. 40 in Indiana. (Tom Russo/Daily Reporter)


GREENFIELD — A sign marking the significance of U.S. 40 to the nation’s history went up in downtown Greenfield Tuesday.

The Indiana National Road Association is installing 15 interpretive panels along the roughly 150 miles of U.S. 40 in Indiana, from Richmond to Terre Haute. Greenfield’s Main Street was chosen as one of the sites, and the sign went up next to city hall.

Each sign has one side that describes the history of the road, and a unique separate side that describes one aspect of the road. In Greenfield, the panel describes how information and news was spread along the road 200 years ago.

According to a press release from the association, the National Road was the nation’s first federally funded interstate highway. In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson approved its funding, and in 1811 construction started in Cumberland, Md. By 1834, Indiana’s section of the road was completed. Thousands of settlers used the road to move west, and by the 1850s, traffic included families in covered wagons, stagecoaches and farmers moving their livestock to market.

In 1998, the road was named a National Scenic Byway, and in 2002, it was designated an All-American Road.

There will be a dedication ceremony for Greenfield’s new sign, but the time and date has not been set yet.

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