Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Lost 1924 Fort Worth Road Tour Map & Log

Since Tuesday's ice storm I have been mostly housebound and have spent some time trying to find and arrange some of my maps and other stuff.  As I was sorting through my Fort Worth maps I ran into my copy of a 1924 Bandy's Road Log. In 1924 there were a number of named roads like the Meridian and the Bankhead highways which were promoted by the cities they passed through, and the states had started designating highways by numbers, but it was not until 1926 that the Federal Highway system was created.

Click to enlarge map

Since in 1924 many highways were nothing more than graded dirt or gravel and there were few if any directional signs out in the country, most travel guides included road "logs" between cities and town. The Bandy Guides were very popular and for sale in many places.  And they carried advertising for businesses along the way.

The Fort Worth & Weatherford maps shown are pretty self explanatory and are worth clicking to zoom. The "Log" from Fort Worth to Weatherford and a partial Log on to Mineral Wells is very enlightening and gives and idea of what driving was like in those days.  The road west was already known as The Bankhead Highway by this time and great efforts were being made to improve it, but it was still very difficult.

Look at the Log instructions about crossing the dangerous trolley tracks (This was where the streetcar line on Prevost crossed Camp Bowie Blvd headed south down to the Lake Como turn around loop), the use of existing landmarks and then the specific instructions to turn right and not go to Granbury through Benbrook. At the Parker county line the road slanted off to the southwest on a now abandoned but still visible right of way to a point about a mile north of Aledo on what is today's Farmer Road or FM1187. The road from this point still exists and runs on into Weatherford as the Old Bankhead Highway going through Annetta.

The original main road to Weatherford in the early 1900's took Stove Foundry Road (Granbury Road) to just north of Benbrook and then on what is now Aledo road along the T&P tracks through the swampy bottoms near Aledo to avoid the difficult terrain of the higher route. It was often flooded and impassible.. In 1913 there was a huge political fight among the County Commissioners over the improvement of the shorter northern route. The final outcome designated this new northern route as the "cardinal" road to the west which assured it of funds for improvement.

In the last several years, a group of us lead by Dan Smith, have worked on the history of the earlier routes from Weatherford to Fort Worth which eventually lead to the building of State Highway #1/US Highway 80  followed much later by Interstate 20.  There is still some work to be done particularly around the Mary's Creek bridges to define the earlier routes.

There is some very interesting history in the development of the Bankhead and Meridian Highways in the North Texas area.

Page from the 1924 Bandy Tour from The Electric Books Collection

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