Saturday 29th March 1806
The Great National Pike, also known as the Cumberland Road, became the first highway funded by the national treasury. Built between 1806 and 1840, the Great National Pike stretched from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. On this day the first appropriation of $30,000 was made by congressional act. Eventually over $6 million was appropriated for the highway. In 1856, control over the road was turned over to the states through which it ran. Roads would be left to the devices of the states almost exclusively until the dawn of the automobile. Henry Ford and other leaders of the automotive industry were instrumental in encouraging the federal funding of national highways.