From Indian Path to Highway E-50

from-indian-path.jpg

Historical Marker Text
In 1664, a colonial road here probably followed the trace of an old Indian path. Two years later, the road was extended to Aquia Creek. It became a post road in 1750, and in Sept. 1781 Gen. George Washington passed over it on the march to Yorktown. By 1900, a crude dirt road followed this route. The 1914 American Automobile Association Blue Book described it as mostly “very poor and dangerous; should not be attempted except in dry weather.” By 1925, auto camps and cabins, the predecessors of auto courts and motels, stood at frequent intervals along present-day U.S. Route 1 between Washington, D.C., and Richmond. [1998]

Extended Research
U.S. Route 1 originated as an Indian path that Virginians later followed and made into a main transit road north to south from Aquia Creek to around present-day Fredericksburg. In the beginning of the 1900s, Route 1 went by the name Richmond-Washington Highway.

The US General Assembly approved the establishment of the first state highway system in 1918. At this time the Richmond- Washington Highway was a muddy and bumpy ride. In 1918, the road was mainly gravel and dirt except for a small section near Alexandria which was made up of concrete. As with most gravel roads of the time, traveling was dangerous and slow, especially in foul weather. Route 1 was fully paved in 1927 (A History 27).

Interstate 95 was built to lessen the flow of traffic on Route 1, which during the 1950s was a main transit route. The first section of Interstate 95, bypassing Emporia, was completed and opened on September 8, 1959 (A History 29).

U.S. Route 1 is still functioning today and is a crucial road in and out of Fredericksburg. Needless to say, the highway maintenance and techniques have been adapted over the years and U.S. Route 1 is much safer and more convenient than it was during its humble beginnings as an Indian path.

Photo Credits
Historical Marker Database, “From Indian Path to Highway Marker,” http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=2188 (accessed April 10, 2008).

For Further Reference
A History of Roads in Virginia: “The Most Convenient Wayes.” Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Transportation, 2006.

Pawlett, Nathaniel Mason. “A Guide to the Preparation of County Roads Histories.” Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council, 1979.—— “Early Road Location: The Key to Discovering Historic Resources.” Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council, 1980.

Department of Historic Resources map and directions

EW

0 Responses to “From Indian Path to Highway E-50”


Comments are currently closed.



css.php