Rep. Blaine Wilhour is encouraging people to join in the 15th Anniversary celebration of the National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Also known as the “Road That Built the Nation”, it was created in 1806 by legislation signed by President Thomas Jefferson. Sometimes called “The Cumberland Road” and “The Old Pike”, it was the only road completely built with federal funds.
Originally winding from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois, the National Road opened Illinois to settlement. Today, the Illinois National Road stretches 164 miles from Marshall to East St. Louis and is mirrored by U.S. Route 40 and Interstate 70.
The National Road Interpretive Center in Illinois opened on February 12, 2009, in conjunction with Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday celebration. Lincoln’s political career began as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, serving at the Statehouse in Vandalia. The Center is located in Vandalia because it was the original terminus of the National Road. Visitors to the National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia can experience this historic road through the eyes of those who built the road and later traveled it.