The Bankhead Highway was one of the nation's earliest transcontinental highways. Its beginnings can be traced back to 1916 when the Bankhead Highway Association was organized to promote the highway's development. The roadway extended from Washington, DC to San Diego, California, by way of Alabama, home of US Senator John H. Bankhead and a major supporter of the highway. Its path crossed approximately 850 miles of Texas, passing through Texarkana, Mt. Vernon, Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, Midland, Van Horn, and El Paso, among other communities, and roughly followed US 67 and US 80.
With special funding allocated by the Texas Legislature and with a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Texas Historical Commission (THC) is undertaking a two-year study to document the history of this nationally important roadway. The THC has awarded a contract to the Austin-based historic preservation planning and management firm of Hardy-Heck-Moore, Inc. (HHM) to complete the study. The project will result in a history of the Texas section of the Bankhead Highway, and will also survey the Texas Bankhead route and associated historic resources including auto repair garages, gas stations, diners, tourist camps, auto courts, motels, road markers, paving, traffic signs, and bridges.
HHM with THC staff will be hosting public meetings in towns along the Bankhead Highway to gather information and visual items related to the Bankhead Highway for use in the project. These meetings are scheduled for August through December 2013. HHM and THC staff will introduce the projects at the meetings and involve community members through discussion, question-and-answer sessions, and displays of historical Bankhead images. The public is encouraged to attend the public meetings and bring historical images, postcards, maps, and other Bankhead-related items. With owner consent, HHM will scan or photograph such materials so they may be included in the project.
The project is to be completed by July 2014.