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.

To plan your Historic Bankhead Highway adventure, visit the Texas Historical Commission’s Bankhead Highway web page. There you will find a history of the highway, an interactive map of the highway route featuring places of interest, a searchable photo database of historic sites along the Bankhead, links to a public photo-sharing Flickr group featuring user-submitted photos of Bankhead sites, and the Bankhead Highway brochure. 

Map of Theme

= Site  = City  = THC State Historic Site