By JUDY SHERIDAN
Parker County residents travel Bankhead Highway daily, thinking little, if ever, about its origins.
But the road has an auspicious past — as a part of the nation’s second transcontinental route — that is now being uncovered by the Texas Historical Commission.
Funded by TxDOT and the Texas Legislature and headed up by the Austin firm of Hardy-Heck-Moore Inc., a two-year project is progressing to document the road’s history in Texas, as well as the landmarks along its path.
Coincidentally, it is also the topic of a new book by Fort Worth author Dan Smith, who was captivated by the road — marked “Old Bankhead Highway” — as he biked through Aledo some 20 years ago.
The book, entitled “Texas Highway No. 1, The Bankhead Highway in Texas,” has been available on Amazon for about a month, Smith said, and its first printing is almost sold out.
Aledo city officials learned of Bankhead’s historic status a few years ago as they argued against a waste transfer station that would have increased truck traffic on the road.
Now, after conversations with the THC and Smith, they have decided to seek a Texas Historical Marker.
“We are in the process of acquiring a historic marker to put at the intersection of Bankhead and 1187, which I think is really exciting,” Mayor Kit Marshall announced during a past council session.
If the marker can be secured — a lengthy process according to Smith — it would define the part of the route that might prove to be the longest intact portion in the state, and possibly the nation.
“The stretch from 1187 north of Aledo all the way toward and through Weatherford called Old Bankhead Highway is the longest stretch still called Old Bankhead Highway in Texas — and probably in America,” Smith said. “I guess it’s about 20 miles.”
According to the THC — which completed field surveys and a series of public outreach meetings in 10 Texas cities this month — the Bankhead Highway got its start in 1916.
Named for U.S. senator and supporter John H. Bankhead of Alabama, it crossed 850 miles of Texas between Washington, D.C., and San Diego, Calif., roughly following U.S. 67 and U.S. 80 as it passed Arlington, Fort Worth, Weatherford, Mineral Wells, Eastland and others.
Marshall and Mayor Pro Tem Bill McLeRoy participated in one of the public outreach meetings in Mineral Wells in October, where the two met author Dan Smith.
Later, McLeRoy purchased a metal road sign Smith created, donating it to the city with instructions to display it in a useful location.
The sign now hangs on an interior wall in an employee workspace area.
“I’ve been peddling these across the state like Johnny Appleseed,” Smith said later. “There are several on ranch gates across Parker County.
“The amazing thing about Bankhead in Texas is that most of that 1,000 miles is still there. Some is buried under the interstate, but much is hidden on ranch land — in plain sight.”
McLeRoy is happy to see the road getting some attention.
“As a former history professor involved in archeology, I’m delighted to see Bankhead recognized as one of our nation’s early twentieth century transcontinental routes,” he said, “right here in our own backyard!”
The project will be finished in July of 2014.
City of Aledo seeking Texas Historical Marker
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
SPRINGTOWN – After finding that a breaker manufactured by a company with a history of issues contributed to a house fire Friday, Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott is urging Parker County residents with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers to call an electrician and get them checked for safety.
Candidates have filed for city, school board elections
Filings for May 10 city and school board elections are now complete. A summary follows:
On the Aledo ISD school board incumbents David Davis, in Place 6, and Hoyt Harris, in Place 7, have both filed for re-election, each drawing one or more opponents. Farida Goderya has filed for Place 6, opposite Davis, and Riley Morrison and Debra Rogers have filed for Place 7, opposite Harris.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce will welcome retired USAF SMSGT Vernon M. Anderson, Jr., senior technical instructor, Bell Helicopter, Integrated Operations Engineering Support Technical Training Department, as the key note speaker for the March 12 luncheon.
The Sunny Side
WILLOW PARK – Peppered with anecdotes from his stellar baseball career, former Texas Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg gave witness to his Christian faith and told how it changed his life before a crowd of about 200 at the recent annual Trinity Christian Academy dinner and fundraiser.
Aledo ISD approves suicide prevention program
The Aledo School Board approved the LifeLines Suicide Prevention Program in February, lining up with a recommendation from the Student Health Advisory Council, which has spent a year reviewing choices.
Aledo ISD could save up to $2 million
Expecting to save close to $2 million, Aledo ISD trustees recently voted to let district staff pull the trigger on a bank-qualified refunding of some of the district’s outstanding bonds once market conditions are optimum.
Don't feed the deer!
HUDSON OAKS — The city council recently passed an ordinance banning the feeding of deer.
Parker County Sheriff's Report Feb. 27-March 2
Burglary of a vehicle
Deputies were dispatched to the 300 block of James Street in Aledo shortly after 6 p.m. regarding the burglary of a vehicle.
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?
Considering our winter temperatures this year, that’s a good question. When it comes to a successful vegetable garden, timing is everything. The goal in Texas is to have most of your vegetable crops mature before the temperatures soar in mid-summer.
EXTENSION NEWS: Getting more zzzs could help you lose some lbs.
We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping. Sleep is important for learning and memory. Sleep also helps our immune system to resist illness and disease, increases response times in emergencies, improves our mood and feelings of wellness and gives us the energy we need to be more active and alert.
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- Breaker, breaker!