Many people have never heard of the Bankhead Highway… Before 2007 we were among them! When we first saw photos of this old farm house (while looking for houses in Texas via the Internet) we were intrigued by the beautiful BRICK ROAD. A little research and we soon discovered that what is now a humble reminder of the past was once a great and vast roadway that spanned the entire US from Washington DC to San Diego, California!
This is a “close up” of the Bankhead Highway Association sign that we have (seen in photo above) displayed on our front fence. The second sign on our fence is a homemade version of what an original Bankhead Highway sign looked like. Below you can really see how expansive and ambitious this project was!
Shortly after moving in, I saw someone pull over and park near the Union Pacific (previously T&P) railroad bridge that is adjacent to our property. This person was taking pictures, which made me quite curious as to what, exactly, he was up to, and so I went out to talk to him. That’s when I first met author Dan Smith, who introduced himself and asked if I was aware that our place was on an old section of the Historic Bankhead Highway. I was very excited to reply that yes, indeed, I did know this and we spent quite a while chatting about this once great roadway. Turns out, Dan was writing a book about the Bankhead Highway in Texas! That book is now published and available through Amazon.com. Naturally I have a copy and had Dan autograph it for me, too! This book is FANTASTIC in it’s detail, scope and layout.
Moving forward, a couple of years ago Joann Moomaw, of Baird, conceived an idea of a Bankhead Highway DRIVE to promote tourism between our local communities. I jumped at the idea, which grew into our First Annual Bankhead Highway drive between Ranger and Baird in May 2011. That very first year, and every year since, Dan Smith has graciously allowed us to use the maps from his book for our annual drive! Twice Dan has even lead our caravan as we bumped along the winding stretches of remaining roadway between Ranger, Olden, Eastland, Cisco, Putnam and Baird. We traditionally start our drive in Ranger, at our old depot which now houses our Roaring Ranger Museum. The very first year we did the drive we had quite a few “oldies” in our troupe, including my 1971 VW Beetle!
In the past, stops along the drive have included the Historic Connellee Hotel in Eastland, which is on Main Street, across from the Eastland County Courthouse. As part of the first year’s drive we also toured the Cisco Museum, while last year we toured the Eastland County Museum. Every year, so far, the drive has ended at the Baird Museum, located in their beautiful T&P Depot.
Our FOURTH Annual Historic Bankhead Highway Drive is scheduled for Saturday, April 18th, 2015. Last year we “locked in” the date of our drive as the third Saturday in April, which conveniently coincides with the Rip’s Ribs Cook-Off in Eastland www.ripsribscookoff.com. Future drives, like next year’s, might include a Friday meet up at the new TXDOT Safety Stop currently under construction atop Ranger Hill! They are planning to have a static display there featuring the Historic Bankhead Highway.
Gregory Hasman joined our 2014 drive and did a nice write up about it on his blog: greg66blogspot.com/2014/04/a-bankhead-vagabond.html
To further explore the Bankhead Highway in Texas, I highly recommend the following website: Texas Historical Commission – Bankhead Highway