In 1806 an Act of Congress which authorized the construction of the National Road also stipulated that mile markers be installed at regular intervals. These reference sign posts helped travelers know that they were following the correct route. They also indicated the distances traveled and the distance to the next destination.
In Ohio there are several of these ” Mile Markers” information signs, explaining the mile posts that followed the National road from the start in Cumberland, Maryland and ending in East St. Louis, Illinois.
The following text is from the sign, above: “Whether the letters or numerals were painted or carved, markers followed a standard pattern of showing at the top the number of miles from the beginning of the Road in Cumberland, Maryland. On the next row, they wrote the name of the next big town and number of miles to it. On the left side of the marker, it would show eastbound travelers the next big town to the east. On the right side, it would show westbound travelers the next big town to the west and the number of miles to go. On the lowest level, there was usually an initial and a small number. This indicated the nearest town. It didn’t need to be spelled out, because most people from the vicinity would recognize it from the initial.”
When you travel on US 40, keep your eyes peeled for these old mile posts and for historic information signs. Each state has its own info sign design, the same as each state had its own mile post material.