Best Rd.

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.

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.

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!

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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Comments

14 responses to “The house on Best Road, on Ohio’s National Road”

  1. Dani Avatar
    Dani

    Oh, how I would like to see inside the house!

    1. Jim Avatar

      No kidding!

  2. Lone Primate Avatar
    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?

    1. Jim Avatar

      The Ohio National Road Association has a great guide to the road, from which I got this info. http://www.ohionationalroad.org/

  3. Todd Pack Avatar

    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?

    1. Jim Avatar

      When you’re among the first to arrive in a place, yeah, you pretty much have to do everything yourself! There’s a homegrown house not far from where I live, within the Indianapolis city limits on the old Michigan Road. http://blog.jimgrey.net/2008/08/02/the-boardman-house/

      Boardman House de-ivied

      Thousands of people drive by it every day and probably have no idea about its history.

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    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 Avatar

      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.

  5. zorgor Avatar

    Wow, love that house! I suppose there were no tours?

    1. Jim Avatar

      It’s a private residence, so nope!

  6. Thestrugglershandbook Avatar

    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…

    1. Jim Avatar

      There’s plenty of bulldozing going on here in the Midwest, too.

  7. Thestrugglershandbook Avatar

    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 Avatar

      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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