History of Addison, Pennsylvania
Addison, Pennsylvania, is another important locale along the National Road, and its history, like Grantsville’s, is intimately connected with this significant transportation route. Let’s dive into the history of Addison and its relationship with the National Road.
Early History: Located in Somerset County, Addison was laid out in 1815 and incorporated in 1860. Like many towns established around this period in the area, its growth was intrinsically tied to the development of the National Road, which began construction in the first decade of the 1800s.
Development and Prosperity: With the National Road cutting directly through it, Addison became an important stop for pioneers and travelers moving westward. As a result, numerous inns and establishments were set up to cater to the needs of these travelers. One of the iconic structures in Addison from this period is the Petersburg Tollhouse, one of the few remaining tollhouses on the National Road and a symbol of the era’s transportation history.
The town’s strategic location allowed for the growth of businesses that benefited from the continuous flow of people and goods along the road. This prosperity, however, was in many ways tied to the fortunes of the National Road itself.
The National Road and Addison:
The Road’s Significance: As previously mentioned, the National Road (or Cumberland Road) was the first federally funded highway in the United States. Its original intent was to facilitate movement and trade from the eastern states to the western territories, stretching from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois.
Impact on Addison: The surge in traffic and commerce brought by the National Road significantly impacted Addison. The town flourished as it became a resting point for travelers, traders, and pioneers. Many historic homes and structures in Addison today can trace their origins back to this period of growth in the 19th century.
Challenges and Changes: By the late 19th century, the importance of the National Road began to wane due to the rise of the railroad. However, the early 20th century brought renewed interest as automobile travel began to popularize. The National Road was incorporated into the U.S. Highway System, known as U.S. Route 40.
Addison, with its rich history, has worked to preserve many of its historic buildings and landmarks. It remains a point of interest for those tracing the history of the National Road and offers a glimpse into the lives of those who lived during a transformative period in American history. The town’s association with the National Road serves as both a testament to its past prosperity and a reminder of the road’s significance in shaping the nation’s history.
In conclusion, Addison, Pennsylvania, and the National Road share a history that embodies the spirit of expansion, innovation, and transformation in the United States during the 19th century. The preservation efforts in Addison make it a vital stop for history enthusiasts tracing the legacy of the National Road.