Grateful American® Foundation

Where did the first state road run?

December 14th

Ky_1793December 14, 1793 — The first state road is authorized today, running from Frankfort, KY to Cincinnati.

Russell Dyche, in “Laurel County Kentucky,” explains that the original settlers’ route to Kentucky was over the Wilderness Road in the Virginia and Tennessee mountains, part of it blazed by Daniel Boone.

By 1795, Kentucky had appropriated $2,000 to extend this road from Crab Orchard to Cumberland Gap. The Wilderness Road was not used for nearly a century but is now a part of U.S. Route 25.

The Wilderness Road offered something new. Emigrants could bring their wagons and more of their household goods when they moved from eastern states through Virginia to their new Kentucky home. The few people living along the route, and more especially the people in the settlements who were wanting more emigrants and travelers, were happy about it.

Words of Wisdom

The Wilderness Road, though rough, muddy and difficult as compared with present day highways, was nevertheless immediately popular.  In an Act approved March 1, 1797, the Legislature provided for opening a road from near Milford [then the county seat] in the county of Madison, the nearest and best way that can be had, to intersect the road opened last summer under the before recited act...

— “Kentucky Gazette” article, which shows that from April 28 to Nov. 15, 1796, a total of £1696 and 10 shillings were expended on the building of the Wilderness Road

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