The National Road in Ohio: Norwich and a brick road in Muskingum County

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2011, my dog Gracie and I explored the National Road all the way across Ohio. That road is now US 40 in most places. I’m bringing the long trip report over from my old Roads site.

After the National Road leaves the Fox Creek S bridge on its westward journey, shortly a long old alignment branches off on the right and heads toward the town of Norwich, which was placed here in 1827 in anticipation of the National Road. Norwich was important as a stagecoach stop along the National Road.

Imagery ©2022 Maxar Technologies, USDA/FPAC/GEO. Map data ©2022 Google.

The noteworthy sight in Norwich is the Ralph Hardesty Stone House, which was built in 1836. Local legend has it that Mr. Hardesty operated a tavern in the house. It’s a gardening supply store and nursery today.

Ralph Hardesty Stone House

It appears that the road was improved twice here. On Norwich’s west end, the original National Road alignment turns right along Brick Road, while a later alignment continues straight. Later, US 40 was moved to bypass the town. Fortunately, this Brick Road is really still brick!

Brick Rd.

It cuts across a lovely country scene.

Brick Rd.

The concrete curbs made me wonder if this road is built the same as the abandoned brick segments in Illinois – a concrete pad topped with bricks. But I learned from the Ohio National Road Association’s wonderful Traveler’s Guide that these are simply concrete strips alongside the brick road.

Brick Rd.

Sadly, this was the last brick segment I encountered on my drive across Ohio’s National Road. But I think this is the finest brick alignment on the entire National Road, from Maryland to Illinois.

Brick Rd.

Just beyond Norwich stands Baker’s Motel, which as of this writing was still operating.

Baker's Motel

Sadly, since I made this photograph, the sign was altered. It was damaged in about 2012 according to the Roadside Architecture site. It remained damaged until about 2017, when the top was lopped off and the arrow and letterboard were covered with plastic panels. It looks a little strange, but it does the job.

©2021 Google

Next: Zanesville.

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