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.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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3 responses to “Madonnas of the Trail on the National Old Trails Road”

  1. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    Neat info Jim, I never knew about them, great photos as well !!

  2. […] check out these other posts on Madonnas around the country from Jim Grey, Sculpted Portrait and Frank Brusca. The Madonna as seen from across the National Road at the […]

  3. Avatar

    It can be in reality a fantastic and also valuable piece of information and facts. I am happy that you simply discussed this useful facts about. Remember to stop us current such as this. Thanks for discussing.

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