The Broadway of America

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Check out my two Drive the Broadway of America drive guides.  One won't miss a thing along the old Bankhead and U.S. 80 corridors with these books!  Click on the images for more detail and ordering information.

Below, some images of the old Bankhead Highway alignment in NE Texas...

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THE BANKHEAD HIGHWAY

It really began in 1916.  Spurred along by WW1 and sponsored by Senator John Hollis Bankhead, pathfinders fanned out towards the Southwest to find alternate and quicker auto routings across the U.S - in case large movements of troops were required.  The routings that grew out of these multiple path finding trips would eventually adopt his name and become known as the Bankhead Highway (BH) with an 'official' routing established in 1919.   In 1920, a transcontinental convoy set out from Washington, D.C. to follow those early pathfinders and further determine/verify the best 'all-weather' military road across a United States that had not yet developed the infrastructure for what would become the greatest car-oriented culture the world has ever seen. 

 

Swinging southwest out of Washington, an early BH swung across many southern states in a long arc, passed through Texas and ultimately meandered over to San Diego, California and the far Pacific Ocean.  As was common in those days, the BH developed a loose-knit promotional organization that published its own maps, promoted local backers, and even put up local highway markers so that travelers along these early auto trails would be sure to follow the 'right and best' auto trail through the area.  The BH became one of the more successful named routes of its day, and many old roads roads in the South still bear its name as a testament.  

 

In the late 1920'S, another promotional organization and proposed auto routing also came into being: the Broadway of America (BOA).  From Broadway, New York to Broadway, San Diego, this group promoted their road as the fastest and best 'all-weather' high gear highway across the country.  This group also published maps and recruited local backers to promote its auto route as the auto route of choice to points out west.  The BOA crowd never tried to build new roads, but took bits and pieces of existing roads, even from other auto routes, and tied them together into their new network.  Since the earlier Bankhead had also promoted itseld as the best "all weather highway", it seems logical that in many areas, the BOA followed almost exactly the pathways as laid down by the earlier BH.  Was there an affiliation between these two organizations?  The history is unclear.  But what IS clear, is that this roadway, this Bankhead Highway, this Broadway of America, would become one of the great auto trails of an early 20th century America and would leave its mark upon the landscape from coast to coast. 

 

On this page, some pictures of the early BH/BOA in NE Texas where the old road was originally known as Texas Highway 1,  This eventually was replaced by an evolving U.S. 67 through the area.  From Dallas westward, the BH/BOA routings were replaced by U.S. 80, so see my Highway 80 pages for pics of those areas.

 

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The 1922 Bankhead Motor Tourist Guide!

A terrific find!  After long conversations with the Library of Congress, I've finally come into possession of the 1922 Bankhead Highway Tourist Guide.  Published by T. A. Dunn, it provides a detailed mapping of the BH as it existed in 1921.  Below, I've provided these pages with the sincerest hope that this wonderful plethora of new found information helps impel you, the inquisitive roadie reader, out of the computer and into the car to find some snippets of these oft long forsaken bits of American roadside history.  The images themselves are very large so you can see the detail so they can be slow loading.  A pain I know, but you will enjoy the fact that you will be able to 'really 'zoom in' on these maps.  Enjoy!

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