As we drive over our country now on the highway system unequaled in the world it is hard to realize Congress in 1806 began a debate lasting 4 decades as to the constitutionality and expenditure for a road only 800 miles long. But the road was built and opened in 1818, maintained free until ownership passed to the States through which it passed in 1831-34. Pennsylvania erected 6 toll houses in preparation of monies to maintain the road as did other States on its course-herein lies our tale of the Petersburg Toll House.
1818 Great Crossings Bridge built, Federal Road build & opened
1831 Road turned over to States and toll houses were authorized
1835 Petersburg built at a cost of $1,530.00
1836 Iron Toll Gates make by William Hatfield who lived near Brownsville, PA.
1840 Nov. 10-Nov. 19, 1841 toll keeper William Condon collected $1,758.87 and received $200.00 salary and the use of the building for his family.
1906 Ended collection of tolls
1909 January 19-Great Crossings Chapter was chartered by Mary C. Endsley.
1949 Property was given to G.C.C. by state.
1966 Searights Restored
1971 Toll House Open July & August on Sunday afternoon
1997 Restoration of the Toll House
The Honorable Andrew Stewart in a speech to Congress January 27, 1829 asserted "Mr. Gallatin was the first man who suggested the plan for making the Cumberland Road." Today we honor Albert Gallatin, second Secretary of the Treasury-United States of America-by establishing his home as the second National Park in Fayette County.
The Pennsylvania toll houses were:
#1 Gate located at the east end of Petersburg (now Addison) Somerset County. Cost to build: $1,530.00.
#2 Gate near Mt. Washington Tavern (1/4 mile west of Fort Necessity)
#3 Gate near Searight’s west of Uniontown
#4 Gate near Bealsville
#5 Gate near Washington
#6 Gate near West Alexander
Only two remain today, #1 Gate, Petersburg (Addison), it is the only hand-cut native stone building and remains unique in that it is essentially the same condition as when the great mass of immigration passed by-headed for a possible better life with their possessions.
Sheep & Hogs-6 cents each score(20)
Horse & Rider-4 cents
Sled Drawn by 1 Horse - 3 cents
Dearborn, Sulk, Chair or Chaise with 1 Horse-6 cents
Additional Horses-3 cents
Chariot, Coach, Coaches, Stage Phaeton or Chaise with 2 Horses and 4 Wheels-12 cents
Carts & Wagons, Wheels 3" not exceeding 8" Breadth-4 cents plus Each Horse Drawing the Vehicle-2 cents
Wagons Over 8" Wheels were FREE
Refusal to Pay Toll-$3.00 FINE
It appears the wider the rims of the wheels were, the cheaper the toll, since lastly all carts and wagons whose wheels exceeding 8" in breadth went merrily by "FREE." The situation here appears to be the wider rims acted on the road surface much as a ‘roller’ but it is puzzling to reason with wider rims the loads must have been heavier and would have made deeper ruts-who knows? No mention is made of a person walking-apparently there was no toll-many walked, having no money to go otherwise. There were those who would leave the main toll road and take a side road to get around a toll house at certain places from whence comes the expression today, "He’s a piker!" meaning a person of doubtful character-one shirking his or her duty.
Funding & Research:
The main source of funding to maintain the Toll House is from donations each year. Much of the repair work is done by husbands of members and friends. Information on the Toll House was collected from various sources and with the help of researchers, library books, and pictures. We have documented as much as possible and hope our sources were correct. This information has been compiled by members of the Great Crossings Chapter, NSDAR, who own and maintain the Toll House.
Open by appointment.
Use contact form below for additional information or email
© 2018 Great Crossings Chapter, NSDAR
Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved.
This site hosted by QCOL.net