During the early nineteenth century, inns and taverns were constructed approximately every ten miles along the Road because this was the distance a wagon or stagecoach could expect to travel in a day. These early predecessors to the twentieth century cabin camp, motor court and later, the motel, offered some respite from the rigors of interstate travel. Inns and taverns also offered social experiences for those who wished to take part. Though some ate their evening meal and retired for the night, others lingered around the fire telling stories, exchanging experiences of the Road, singing, dancing and discussing the important issues of the day. Inns were often located at the crest of hills in outlying areas and were among the most prominent buildings on the Main Street (the National Road) of many Pike towns. Drover’s inns and services were generally located on side streets parallel to the National Road or on the outskirts of town where they could accommodate pens for livestock being driven to market. Drover’s inns were generally simpler frame structures. The sleepy nature of many National Road towns today makes it difficult to realize the proliferation of services available during the nineteenth century heyday of the Road. An 1831 state gazetteer listed the tiny town of Etna in Licking County with 3 taverns, 6 stores and 34 dwellings. West Jefferson in Madison County was home to 5 taverns and 6 stores.

Roadside inn