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The Paintings of Carl Rakeman

1795 - The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road

Image:  In this snowy scene, a tavern owner welcomes a carriage filled with people.

The privately built Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road was the first important turnpike and the first long-distance broken-stone and gravel surface built in America according to formal plans and specifications. The road's construction marked the beginning of organized road improvement after the long period of economic confusion following the American Revolution.

The road opened the territory northwest of the Ohio River and provided cheap transportation between the coast cities and the new Republic's "bread basket" region surrounding Lancaster.

By 1843, railroads and canals drove stagecoach and Conestoga wagon companies into a drastic decline. During the next half century, the road fell into disuse and lack of repair, recovering with the invention of the automobile.

The Spread Eagle Tavern is shown as it appeared in 1795.

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The Paintings of Carl Rakeman