Sunday, August 28, 2016

Norwich, Ohio: National Road and Zane Gray Museum

What do you do for museums when you are in a small town with a couple of claims to fame? Make one museum that honors both.

At least that's what the good citizens did in Norwich, Ohio. That's why we have the National Road and Zane Gray Museum.

The National Road was America's first highway. The idea was to build a highway from Cumberland, Maryland, to St. Louis - cutting down trees and building a road along the way. Construction started in 1811, and didn't quite make it to St. Louis. The growth of railroads slowed the use of the National Road until cars came along early in the 20th century. Now it's U.S. 40, upstaged a bit by the nearby Interstate that takes a similar path.

There's a diorama that checks in at 136 feet long, and tells the story of the development of the National Road and the cities along the way. There are also examples of the types of vehicles that traveled on it over the years.

Then there's Zane Gray, who wrote more than 80 books and specialized in novels of the Old West. Some of Gray's work is on display, and a replica of his study is available to see.

The staff takes you around the place and explains all of the exhibits, which is helpful. There is a bridge and mile marker outside of the place that was used with the National Road as well. I'm not sure this is a stop for everyone, but it ought to satisfy the curiosity of those with an interest in either subject.

Here's a closer look:


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