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What Is The Oldest Road In America?

The King's Highway is now the oldest road in continuous use in the nation. The King's Highway Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. It's home to a host of important sites, including the Kingston Bridge which was built 1798. It replaced one destroyed by George Washington's troops to prevent British pursuit.

When Was It Built?

In the 1600s, the King's Highway was built to go from Boston, Massachusetts to Charleston, South Carolina. In Philadelphia, William Penn had the King’s Highway Bridge built by residents via royal edict. This bridge, built in 1697 is the oldest roadway bridge in continuous use in the nation. When it comes to Philadelphia however, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are still the popular tourist attractions.

Dangerous Deeds and Historical Events

What people are shocked to find out is that del­eg­ates of the Con­tin­ent­al Con­gress often met to discuss their independence from Britain in taverns in Frankford, (now a neighborhood of Philadelphia before the consolidation of 1854). George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and other important people would often travel to, work in, and sleep in parts of Northeast Philadelphia. Fast forward to the Civil War when there was a population growth of African Americans and you will find that residents of Northeast Philadelphia played a big part in the abolishment of slavery and the Underground Railroad.

The road passes through 8 different historic districts and 6 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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These include: Drumthwacket (the governor's mansion), Morven (now a museum & garden), the Maclean House, the Lawrenceville School, Nassau Hall (now part of Princeton University and once the United States' capitol building), and the Joseph Henry House.

History Revealed

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The King’s Highway and the historic locations along the road are the foundation of the film. Augmenting that with in-depth historical coverage, along with expert speakers, archival footage, historical documents, photographs, maps and artifacts, the documentary is set to give us a glimpse into the past. Time lapse and walkthrough footage of various locations will allow viewers to see the beauty that has been all but forgotten. The goal of the film is to not only spread awareness about the historic value of this area, but to also showcase the historians and preservationists that are fighting to keep our beautiful city intact. Ultimately, we are spreading the word that Center City is not the only place America’s history is present.

The 1,300-mile (2,100 km) long King’s Highway was built from to 1650 to 1735 and connected Charleston, South Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts. It played a critical role in the ultimate independence of the United States from England even though it was ordered to be built by Charles II of England.

In 1735, it was basically a trail. By 1750 the entire road was in place. Wagons and stagecoaches used it, but it was difficult going with few bridges and many river crossings. Sections were often impassable.

Today, highways and modern roads cover most of the original route.

King's Highway Historic Site

In many places key historic elements have been preserved. For example, The King’s Highway Historic District in New Jersey covers U.S. Route 206 and New Jersey Route 27 that connect Lawrenceville with Kingston through Princeton. There are five National Historic Landmarks, just on that piece of road: Lawrenceville School, Morven Museum and Garden, Maclean House, Nassau Hall, and the Joseph Henry House. In addition there are numerous associated historic stuctures on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

There are hundreds of historic places along the 1,300 mile highway, but today lets look at what’s happening in northeast Philadelphia.

King's Highway Historic Site provides interesting locations for members of the community and visitors to enjoy a walk over the same ground travelled by humans for hundreds of years. Follow part of Washington's Army on its way to Yorktown, pass by one of the oldest homes in the county at Rippon Lodge, connect with area waterways, and find old trails where you least expect them at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

King's Highway Historic Site is part of the Neabsco Regional Park. This park also includes the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk, Julie J. Metz Neabsco Creek Wetlands Preserve, and Rippon Lodge Historic Site. Click for more information on Neabsco Regional Park.

HOW TO VISIT

The two county owned sites in Woodbridge are close one another and Rippon Lodge Historic Site at the addresses below:

2201 Vantage Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22191

2114 Rippon Boulevard, Woodbridge, VA 22191

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