Several developments are occurring within the state to preserve and promote one of the first major highways in the history of the country.
The National Road, which is now a registered part of United States 40, was considered a major landmark road when first constructed in1811, serving largely as a point of passage for settlers who were migrating West. At that time the road stretched from Maryland to Illinois. In its current structure, it spreads all the way to Utah.
To commemorate the historical significance of the road, a Ball State professor and several students made a documentary film addressing the importance of the highway.
The film, entitled "Movers and Stakers: Stories Along the Indiana National Road," is an hour-long documentary directed by Nancy Carlson, associate professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, with the help of approximately 20 students. The film took two years to complete. Carlson said the road, which stretches 156 miles in the state from Richmond to Terre Haute, has a rich importance to the history of the state which deserves to be recognized.
"(The road) is a vestige of days gone by," Carlson, who has previously directed two documentary features, said. "When you drive on it, you look around. You see the stories that made Indiana. You really get a grasp of what the state is about."
Plans are currently in the works to get "Movers and Stakers" moving through the film festival circuit. Prior to this, she will give several free screenings of the film in various theaters across the state. It will be shown at the Indiana Theater in Terre Haute on April 29. It will also be shown in Indianapolis, Greenfield, Richmond and Muncie. Then, after it has completed its journey through the festival circuit, the film will be sent to various public broadcasting stations to reach a wider audience.
Another form of road preservation will take place at annual Indiana Road Association's annual meeting, to be held May 1 at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.
After the formal meeting, which runs from 2-4 p.m., a series of walking tours of the Statehouse and the catacombs of the City Market will be given to provide a first-hand look at the historical happenings that occurred along the road. Board member and Brazil resident Teresa Chaney said there were plans being made to compose a photo book and suggested that anyone who had photos documenting the roads historical importance to bring them to the meeting.
Chaney also said the society was in the midst of setting up 15 interpretive panels across the state which gives information about the role the road played in the history of that particular area. One will be set up in Brazil in front of the historical society. Chaney said the hope was to set the panels up by the end of the year. She said all these steps were necessary to educate people as to why the road is so important.
"This road is the life blood of Clay County," Chaney said. "This is a good way to get people off the superhighways. They will get the chance to see the way America really is."
To see the trailer or learn more information about the film, visit moversandstakers.com. For further information about the Road Association, contact them at 765-478-3172, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.