Road Trips

Madonnas of the Trail

In the 1910s, before the US highway system, a coast-to-coast road was formed to link Baltimore (or New York, some maps say) to San Francisco. Named the National Old Trails Road, it made its way across 12 states. Some of it was new construction, but most of it followed existing roads, including the National Road west from Cumberland, Maryland. In 1928 and 1929, the Daughters of the American Revolution placed one Madonna of the Trail statue along the National Old Trails Road in each of its 12 states. The statues commemorate pioneer women who made the difficult journey west. Along the National Road, the easternmost statue is in Pennsylvania, just east of Beallsville.

Madonna of the Trail

Since each statue is the same, you might think that after you’ve seen one Madonna, you’ve seen them all. I had previously seen the one in Vandalia, Illinois, at the National Road’s very end.

Madonna of the Trail

The next morning I would see the one in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Wheeling Madonna of the Trail

But there’s just something compelling about these old ladies. We had planned to see the ones in Springfield, Ohio and Richmond, Indiana as well on this trip, but fate conspired against us, and we were sorely disappointed.

ReadMore Also check out the abandoned brick National Road and the section that must have been striped by drunk highway workers.


3 thoughts on “Madonnas of the Trail

  1. Pingback: Mile 83 – Madonna of the Trail, Beallsville, Pa. « Explore U.S. 40

Share your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.