Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

The house on Best Road

14

Last spring over Memorial Day weekend I drove the National Road across Ohio. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I wrote about the trip at great length here all summer. I always write an exhaustive trip report for my main Web site, and I finally found time to finish it. The long reports always contain details that didn’t make the blog. To read the complete story, click here: The National Road in Ohio

Here’s a preview of the kind of good stuff you’ll find in the long trip report.

In the rugged terrain of eastern Ohio, 20th-century improvements to US 40 left plenty of old National Road alignments behind. One of them in Guernsey County is signed as Best Road.

Imagery © 2011 Digital Globe, GeoEye, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data © 2011 Google.

There are two reasons I stopped to photograph Best Road. The first was that it towers over current US 40.

Best Rd.

The road’s realignment cut out a pretty steep hill, making US 40 safer and faster. Here’s where the hill crests.

Best Rd.

The second reason I stopped was this great old house. It dates to the 1870s and was originally home to Civil War veteran Oliver Barnett. It’s a “homegrown home” – the lumber used to build it came from trees on the property. Even the stone in its foundation was quarried here.

Best Rd.

For this photo, I squatted down trying to get the tree branches to serve as kind of a frame for the scene. I couldn’t avoid having them block the roof, unfortunately!

Best Rd.

Hidden gems like this are why I like to follow the old alignments!

Click here for a list of everything I’ve blogged about the National Road.

14 thoughts on “The house on Best Road

  1. Lone Primate

    I love old parallel roads like that. And how amazing to learn that the home was built right out of the property itself. Talk about keeping the pioneer spirit. How did you ever find that out?

  2. Todd Pack

    Cool post. I never thought about it before, but I’ll bet a lot of old houses were homegrown. I mean, I always assumed they bought the lumber from a local mill or something, but that probably wasn’t practical, was it?

  3. ryoko861

    I’m with Dani! Can’t imagine what the inside looks like! It amazes me the quality of skills and construction that causes a house like that to still be standing! It obviously has be well maintained over the decades. And will probably still stand for many more! Such a nice piece of property as well!

    1. Jim Post author

      I searched the Internet for interior photos of this house, but came up empty. You’d better believe a lot of maintenance has gone into that house to keep it looking like that.

  4. Thestrugglershandbook

    That house is amazing. Sadly, most of the historic houses in Tucson, especially downtown, were bulldozed for parking lots and offices. For a town that’s over 300 tears old, we have little sense of history, and once it’s lost…

  5. Thestrugglershandbook

    Also, interesting how Rand McNally almost killed you! That whole series is fascinating; I’ve always been intrigued by the road less traveled, and that was some cool architecture. Only in America, land of the forgotten town!

    1. Jim Post author

      Thanks for clicking through and reading some of the long trip report! I waited for 20 years to return to the scene of my fright.

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