Historical Background[edit | edit source]
In 1829 the Kentucky legislature authorized the Maysville, Washington, Paris and Lexington Turnpike Road Company to construct a modern roadway along the route of the old Limestone Road which ran from Maysville, Ohio, a port on the Ohio River to Lexington, Kentucky, the state capitol. Users would be charged fees for maintenance and paying off the debt to shareholders. The act set aside blocks of shares for purchase by the federal government. Henry Clay, an influential Kentucky politician and proponent of the American System, argued for the Maysville Road and other infrastructure, noting it would be part of a longer road terminating in New Orleans, Louisiana and proper for federal funding.
In 1830, Congress passed a bill authorizing the federal government to purchase shares in the turnpike company. President Andrew Jackson, a bitter rival of Clay, vetoed the bill, arguing that the project was of purely local benefit. The Maysville Road veto was one of Jackson's first acts in aligning the federal government with his principles of Jacksonian democracy.
An attempt to override Jackson's veto failed, but the controversy over the Maysville Road veto continued for some time. In the event, the turnpike was completed in 1835 with funding from local entities and private investment. It was the first macadamized road in the state. Today it is U.S. Route 68.
Route[edit | edit source]
Southwest from Maysville, Ohio the road followed the former buffalo trace and Native American trail to Lexington, Kentucky. It was called both the Maysville Road and the Limestone Road. It was maintained by the various counties through which it passed with local labor from the county levies. The road was rough and during certain seasons practically impassable.