Cambridge City, IN—Indiana Landmarks will reopen its 1841 Huddleston Farmhouse in September with an entire floor of new exhibits focused on the historic National Road, from the pioneer era to the present.
The Huddleston Farmhouse is on the National Road (U.S.40) at the eastern edge of Cambridge City. The new exhibits will debut on September 10 with a free open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. held in conjunction with Cambridge City’s Canal Days festival. The open house will feature refreshments and live music from the Peach Pickers.
The Huddleston Farmhouse has been closed for two years as the exhibits were being developed and the ground floor of the house prepped for the installation. The exhibits tell the 200-year story of the National Road from its start in Cumberland, Maryland in 1806 through Indiana in mid-1820s, to its end in Vandalia, Illinois.
The new exhibits allow visitors to hear from a covered wagon traveler about the conditions on the road, the food they ate, and where they found lodging. Visitors will experience the road surfaces over time, from a bumpy mud track dotted with tree stumps to brick, concrete, and the current asphalt.
Children can try out the straw-filled mattress like the ones pioneers used on the floor of the travelers’ kitchens. At an interactive wall-sized map, visitors can click on places from Maryland to Illinois to learn more about sites to visit on the National Road today. A simulation allows tourists to drive along the road viewing important National Road landmarks, including those lost, save and endangered.
The National Road Heritage Site at Huddleston Farmhouse promotes public awareness of one of the first significant national engineering achievements in American transportation and its role in nineteenth and twentieth Century American society and culture.
Indiana Landmarks received a National Scenic Byways Grant to create the new exhibits, which were produced by Split Rock Studios in collaboration with Ball State University’s Department of Telecommunications and the Indiana National Road Association. The project also received support from private donors across the state.
The Huddleston Farmhouse played an integral role in early National Road travel. The Huddleston family converted the ground floor of the house, barn and yard to cater to pioneers on the road. From 1841 to 1853, travelers stabled and fed animals and took shelter in the ground floor of the farmhouse, using the hearths there to cook meals and buying supplies from a general store. The main floor of the house depicts the Huddleston family’s living quarters.