The National Road

. . . a photographic journey - by Clarence Carvell


About the Project

The National Road Project itself began in 1991 merely to photograph some of the remaining farms along US Route 40, mostly between Baltimore and Frederick, Md. As photographs began to accumulate and to include photos of original National Road artifacts such as inns, toll houses and bridges, the project moved westward. It then began to take on historical implications and the determination grew to find as many objects associated with the National Road as possible.

Suffice to say, I never intended The National Road to become a written historical documentary but one cannot spend years photographing and taking notes without accumulating a vast collection of information.

In those years, the files have grown to include over 7500 negatives and transparencies. Many of these images have been shown in galleries, museums and county office buildings throughout the state in an effort to promote interest in the preservation of the remaining parts of the National Road.

No doubt many photographs already exist of those things I have found interesting. There is something about those little, out of the way places though, that make me believe no one has ever photographed them before. In part, it's that idea of making a one of kind photograph that keeps me going back to the little sections of the National Road.

As the years have passed, it has become increasingly important to me that photographs of these things become part of a collection that best describes the road as we find it today.

Unfortunately, many of the objects, like the historic Clarysville Inn, have since been destroyed either by vandalism, fire or urban growth. Many of the mile markers have been plundered or broken off by road machinery.

Neglect has led to the inevitable deterioration of abandoned farm buildings, mills, century old inns, bridges and the road itself.

The value in preserving such things may not be known for years to come but certainly, once they are gone, they're gone.

A collection of National Road photographs have been published in a book titled "The National Road . . . a photographic journey" , depicting many of the artifacts between Baltimore and Wheeling, WVA, as they exist today. The book may be purchased through the author or through

A traveling exhibit of eighty photographs titled The National Road . . . a photographic journey, has been made available to galleries along the highway and to numerous organizations with an historical interest in the National Road.

Group tours sponsored by the NRP have led to a better understanding of why the National Road became such an important part of the country’s development and why the “highway” deserves a better place in American History.

The National Road Project is ongoing and welcomes new information that may lead to further photographic documentation, especially of those things in danger of destruction.

Meanwhile, I'm still photographing and looking for those places that never quite made it to the historical register.

Copies of photographs are available at a very modest price in the interest of promoting enthusiasm for arresting the decay of a valuable part of American history. Contact Clarence Carvell for lists and prices.

Contact the National Road Project:

National Road Project
7106 Pindell School Road
Fulton, MD 20759

This site is copyrighted © 2002 by Clarence Carvell. No copying, electronic storage or reproduction
of any portion of this site is permitted except by express permission of the author.