Visit the Texas Heritage Trail Regions and see where it all happened

Bankhead Highway


The birth of auto trails meant the birth of the road trip. Chances are you've driven on the Bankhead Highway without even knowing it. This historic route, established in 1919 and considered the first paved transcontinental highway, connected Washington, D.C. with San Diego as part of the National Auto Trail system. The Texas segment was pieced together county by county, entering from the east at Texarkana swinging down to Dallas and making its way across Texas to exit at El Paso. Counties and towns competed heartily for the right to install the first paved automobile road and the economic boost that would arrive across those bricks and cement. Over the years, the route has changed, segments have been abandoned, and today Interstate Highways 30 and 20 approximate some of the original route. Vestiges of the historic road remain on the landscape today while hotels, diners, and downtown buildings of the roaring 20s remind us of the modern spirit and commerce of the times. You don't need to be a gumshoe to drive segments of the road—take the jalopy to places like Mount Vernon, Garland, Weatherford, Cisco, and Abilene. It will be the Bee's Knees.

Explore the Historic Bankhead Highway with the Following Resources

Bankhead Highway brochure and mobile tour.


Watch Our Historic Bankhead Highway Video Series

These videos were produced for use in our Historic Bankhead Highway mobile tour and explore the development of the Bankhead Highway in Texas and its impact on Texas industries and communities. If you're unable to take our mobile tour on the road, use these videos to take a virtual tour down the Bankhead!

Listen to Road Trip!

A songwriting competition among friends—with talent! Jim Cleveland and son John Cleveland of Mount Vernon, along with good friend Jeff Prince of Fort Worth decided the Bankhead Highway needed to be honored in song. The three talented musicians, singers, and songwriters approached the task as a friendly competition, selecting Jeff Prince’s arrangement as the winner. "Road Trip" will have all Bankhead travelers singing to the same tune!

Map of Theme

= Site  = City  = THC State Historic Site