The History of Asphalt in the USA

September 30, 2019

Perhaps more than any other nation on planet Earth, the United States of America is a nation that runs on asphalt. The U.S. is a nation of muscle cars, of meandering road trips, of freeways, highways and byways. The American love affair with the road, one of the core tenets of our national identity, would never have been possible without the modern miracle that is asphalt.

Laying the first roads

Roads have been constructed since the time of the Mesopotamians. The Greeks and Romans built rudimentary roads that still survive in part to this very day. Modern asphalt roads as we know them, however, weren’t formed until the 1700s, when an Englishman built 180 miles of asphalt roads in Yorkshire. Up to that point, asphalt had been used as a waterproofing agent.

It wasn’t until decades later that the modern road as we know it was created by John Loudon McAdam. McAdam used crushed stones and asphalt to build roads that were smoother and more durable than the alternative.

Crossing the pond

America’s first asphalt road is credited to a Belgian chemist named Edmund J. DeSmedt, perhaps the first asphalt contractor near Montgomery County, MD. It was DeSmedt who extracted 54,000 square yards of sheet asphalt from Trinidad Lake and used it to pave Pennsylvania Avenue, the street that runs in front of the White House in Washington, DC.

From the moment the first bit of pavement was laid down, the United States seemed to catch the asphalt bug.

Riding in style

By the turn of the 20th century, it seemed that a new asphalt patent was being filed every few years. And then came the car.

As personal automobiles became easier to afford, the need for clean roads rose to levels never before seen. In 1956, the federal government allocated $51 billion (that’s almost half a trillion dollars today) for the express purpose of building and maintaining the nation’s vital road infrastructure. The country soon found itself more connected than ever before thanks to thousands of miles of new asphalt roads.

The art and science of laying asphalt began to improve by leaps and bounds, as well. This same time period saw the birth of drum mixers, mechanical spreaders and even machines dedicated to the sole purpose of laying asphalt.

Your Maryland asphalt professionals

Thousands of years after the birth of roads, science continues to improve the surfaces on which we drive every single day.

It’s time to grab your slice of the national identity with your own beautifully paved part of America. When you’re looking for the area’s best asphalt contractor in Montgomery County, MD, you need look no further than Maryland Asphalt LLC.

We take immense pride in providing the highest-quality asphalt and paving services to all our friends and clients in southern Maryland. Whether your needs are commercial or residential, our family owned and operated business can handle it.

Public roads, private roads, parking lots, driveways—we do it all. Let us be your asphalt contractor in Montgomery County, MD. You won’t regret it. Contact us today and let Maryland Asphalt LLC show you why we’re the state’s premier asphalt choice.

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