Now known as US Route 40, it is probably the most historic road crossing the Appalachian Mountains. Originally an Indian trail known as Nemacolin’s Path, it became a military road when General Braddock marched west from Fort Cumberland in 1755 on his ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne. For 25 years this rough military road was the main route of travel connecting the East with the Ohio Valley.
Early in the nineteenth century the National Congress appropriated funds to rebuild the road from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, West Virginia, and thus it became our first national highway. Known for years as The Old National Trail, it was later designated as U.S. Route 40. Today, U.S. 40 skirts Grantsville by following I-68. But the National Road runs right in town as Main Street and Alt. U.S. 40.
One of the many historical landmarks along the old highway is the stone arch bridge across the Casselman River, one-half mile east of Grantsville. Built in 1813, it was the largest single span bridge in America at the time and carried the heavy traffic of the road continuously for about a century and a quarter. The old bridge is now being preserved as a national relic.