The National Road (US Route 40) not only transformed our nation, but it also put Western Maryland on the map as the "Gateway to the West"! Construction began on the road in Cumberland, Maryland in 1811, placing our region at the head of a major transportation corridor. The first highway to be built entirely with federal funds, this project gave fuel to the City's subsequent development as a major regional manufacturing and transportation center. The road was completed all the way to Vandalia, Illinois, where construction stopped due to lack of funds.
In May 2011, a parade was held in Cumberland to mark the 200th birthday of The National Road. City, County, and State officials broke ground to bury a time capsule that will be sealed for another 200 years. Many of the items placed in the time capsule were submitted by school children from towns in Maryland and West Virginia that were linked through the initial construction of the road.