We can drive 60 miles per hour on US 40 today. But when the National Road was new in the late 1830s, the fastest traffic might cover 60 miles in a day, and only if you traveled by stagecoach. Conestoga wagons could count on covering only about 15 miles in a day. So inns appeared every 10 to 15 miles along major 1800s roads to provide travelers with food and lodging.
Many old inns still stand along the National Road, and among them is the Archer Inn in Marshall, Illinois. William Archer, a contemporary and friend of Abraham Lincoln, not only founded Marshall but built this inn. It was completed in in 1841. Old Abe even stayed here a time or two. The building was a hotel for a very long time before becoming an elder care facility, a dinner theater, and finally a bed and breakfast. But now it’s vacant.