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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


In 1818, the National Road, America’s first federal highway, was completed from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, Virginia.

Mail coaches, Conestoga wagons and herds of cattle filled the road which connected the Eastern seaboard with the Ohio River, The Gateway to the West.

Steamboats, a recent invention, carried freight and passengers from Wheeling to New Orleans.

In Wheeling, a village of less than a thousand, the National Road’s impact was enormous.

Iron foundries, cotton mills, distilleries, glass and tobacco factories opened along the waterfront.

The road brought thousands of European immigrants who found work as laborers.

By 1825, Wheeling had grown into an industrial center with the second largest population in Virginia. Only Richmond, the capitol, was bigger.

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