From Ohio History Central
The National Road was one of the first paved (compacted gravel) roads to cross the Appalachian Mountains.
The United States Congress authorized construction of the National Road in 1806. In 1811, the Congress awarded contracts to private builders to construct the road. The War of 1812 prevented work from beginning until 1815. Construction began in Cumberland, Maryland, and the contractors completed the road to Wheeling, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), in 1817. Eventually, the federal government extended the road to near St. Louis, Missouri.
The "Historic National Road " was designated an "All-American Road" in the "National Scenic Byway System" by the United States Department of Transportation in 2002.