Boonsboro Reflections: John McAdam Introduces the Macadam Road Surface to America

Posted on Mar 13, 2017


The first macadam surface in the United States was laid on the “Boonsborough Turnpike Road” between Hagerstown and Boonsboro, Maryland.  By 1822, this section was the last unimproved gap in the great National Road leading from Baltimore, on the Chesapeake Bay, to Wheeling, on the Ohio River.   Construction specifications for the turnpike road incorporated those set forth by John Loudon McAdam of Scotland.  The availability of an all-weather turnpike road stimulated travel and trade. By 1864, the Boonsboro Turnpike Road 10-mile tolls ranged from 20 cents for 20 sheep or hogs to $1.20 for a wagon with 6 horses.

Courtesy of Washington County Free Library.

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