National Pike blogged

25 January 2008

I’ve just stumbled over a fascinating project of Christoper Busta-Peck’s covering the Old National Road/National Pike. You probably know that part of that historic thoroughfare was on the path of the Armies during the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

National Pike marker (recreated, C. Busta-Peck)
National Pike milestone, recreated (C. Busta-Peck)

Christoper is a librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, and is using the blogging medium to perfection, as I see it, to illuminate history right under our noses. History, I dare say, most of us have missed. Do go see his excellent use of GoogleMaps to cover the milemarkers and other sights along the Road, in addition to the range of other fine posts on the subject.

When he started in September 2007, Christopher explained:

This blog is my attempt to describe and share my journeys on the National Pike, as it winds its way from Baltimore to Cumberland, Maryland, as well as the National Road, from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. I plan to include plenty of photographs, maps to describe the journey.

The blog post that finally caught my attention today is about the series of 19th Century stone bridges over the Antietam and the 1910 book on the subject by Helen Ashe Hays. He’s scanned and posted the superb photos from that volume. Both of my readers will immediately recognize the spans in his post as brothers and sisters of what’s now known as Burnside Bridge.

Bravo. Brilliant!

4 Responses to “National Pike blogged”

  1. Christopher Busta-Peck says:

    Thank you for your kind words.

    The next phase of my project is going to involve photographs in the Maryland Department at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, primarily from the Maryland highway administration and the Historic American Buildings Survey. The highway administration’s photographs illustrate the way the National Road was straightened, realigned, and changed to make for a safer, if more boring, drive – and they illustrate it better than any other source I’ve found, even the annual reports of the highway administration.

    The photograph collection is quite extensive – somewhere around 25,000+ images – your readers might find a wealth of useful information there, too. With the weather as it is right now, it’s the perfect time to be inside doing research. The librarians in the Maryland Department would welcome your call.

  2. Mannie Gentile says:


    One of the really cool things that caught my eye upon moving from Michigan to Boonsboro were the milestones placed every mile between Boonsboro and Funkstown. Driving along, I turned to my wife and said “There’s history happening here”.


  3. Brian says:

    Thanks again Christopher, I envy your place of work!

    Hi Mannie, sounds like you and I have similar feelings about it. History indeed.

  4. Steve Colby says:

    Just a note about a new project to document the history of the Cumberland Road / National Road and the people and towns that flourished alongside. ( The year 2011 is the 200th anniversary of the start of construction on the Road in Cumberland, MD.
    Contributions are encouraged!

    Steve Colby

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