By Jim Glanville
Much of America’s westward expansion funneled through Southwest Virginia. In 1770, the rutted wagon road that traverses our region via what is now the Interstate 81 corridor was the most heavily traveled route in all America.
In the decades following independence, down this Great Southwest Road of Virginia, hundreds of thousands of Virginians moved south and west to newly created states, carrying with them their culture and their political institutions. One writer calls this route of massive internal American emigration “The path of empire in the conquest of The Great West.”
Glanville, of Blacksburg, is a retired chemist who writes and speaks extensively about the history and archaeology of the region.