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.

Red Brick Tavern

Beyond Columbus, things get mighty sparse on the National Road. Western Ohio is flat. The National Road is therefore a straight shot across the rest of the state, and with one major exception farther down the road, modern US 40 was built right on top of it.

About halfway across Madison County and 20 miles west of Columbus, the road reaches tiny Lafayette.

Imagery © 2012 Digital Globe, GeoEye, State of Ohio/OSIP, USDA Farm Service Agency, U.S. Geological Survey. Map data © 2012 Google.

It is said that the National Road didn’t extend this far west until about 1837, which is when the Red Brick Tavern opened for business. When the railroad rose to prominence in the 1850s and traffic on the National Road dried up, the tavern’s fortunes fell. It closed in 1859.

The families that owned it then lived in it and rented portions of it as residences for other families. The third floor was even used as a school for a while. The automobile made the National Road important again in the early 20th century, and so in 1924 the Red Brick’s owners reopened it as a restaurant. It still feeds US 40 travelers today. (It looks like the Red Brick Tavern didn’t survive COVID and closed in 2020.)

Red Brick Tavern

I love the strong entrance on this building.

Red Brick Tavern

A closer look at the bricks.

Red Brick Tavern

US 40 is four divided lanes out here. The westbound lanes are the National Road’s original alignment; the eastbound lanes came later. Shortly the road reaches Summerford. US 40 bypasses it to the south, but the National Road still travels straight through.

Imagery © 2012 Digital Globe, GeoEye, State of Ohio/OSIP, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency. Map data © 2012 Google.

Next: Springfield.

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7 responses to “The National Road in Ohio: The Red Brick Tavern”

  1. gg1978 Avatar

    Actually it looks like the Red Brick Tavern was just reopened about a week ago… It is an interesting looking building to be sure…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      BREAKING NEWS! I put this post together several weeks ago so I didn’t know!

  2. Stasia Avatar

    I love this building! This is a stretch of the National Road that I’ve driven several times when I want to take a break from the interstate.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a nice stretch, straight and easy to drive. And you get to pass buildings like this!

  3. Ward Fogelsanger Avatar
    Ward Fogelsanger

    Drove US 40 from Casey IL to Zanesville OH many times to go to my maternal grandparents house growing up and all the way to Washington PA going to Shippensburg PA where my farther was from…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s a mighty long trip along US 40!

  4. Bricks Street Avatar

    Great Piece of content. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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