A Brief History
The Bankhead Highway was one of the nation's earliest transcontinental highways. Its beginnings can be traced back to 1916 when the Bankhead Highway Association was organized to promote the highway's development. The road extended from Washington, D.C. to San Diego, California. Its path crossed approximately 850 miles of Texas, passing through Texarkana, Mount Vernon, Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, Midland, Van Horn and El Paso, roughly following today's US 67 and US 80.
The Bankhead Highway Route and Places of Interest
Bankhead Highway Map. Use your mouse to zoom in and out on the map to see the various alignments. Seen below are some of the places of interest along the Bankhead Highway. For more places of interest, Explore the Bankhead Highway.
Highlights of Bankhead Highway
The Texas section of the Bankhead Highway contains some 2,700 road-related historic resources including auto repair garages, gas stations, diners, tourist camps, auto courts, motels, road markers, paving, traffic signs, and bridges.
We gathered together the best of the resources (National Register Listed, Recommended Eligible for the National Register, and Recommended Contributing to a District) into an interactive map so you can experience the riches of the Bankhead from your desktop, laptop, or smart phone. If you are interested in applying for National Register designation and/or Preservation Tax Credit Incentives for any of these resources, please contact the THC's National Register Coordinator, Greg Smith to discuss the project. Click on the red Explore the Bankhead Highway button above to start your adventure.
If you are interested in seeing all of the surveyed resources, click on the Other Ways to Explore the Bankhead Highway in the right sidebar.
Bankhead Highway Mobile App Tour
Texas Time Travel Tours provides eight thematic mobile tours, one of which is the Bankhead Highway. The mobile tours will take you to the real places that tell the real stories of Texas, and enrich your heritage travel experience, providing galleries of contemporary and historic images, audio tracks that recount little-known stories, detailed visitation information, and GPS enabled travel maps.
The Bankhead Highway Mobile App Tour guides you on a statewide road trip along 850 miles of historic highway from Texarkana to El Paso, featuring late night big band shows at classic hotels of the roaring twenties to the service stations and auto courts that promised freedom on the open road. Click the link above for the web version.
Bankhead Highway Brochure
If you like to drive along historic highways, do "mystery tours," or see road-related architecture, the Bankhead Highway brochure gives a brief history of the historic highways in Texas and the Bankhead Highway, along with great images and a map. Order a free print copy of the brochure using our online request form or download a PDF of the brochure now.
Plan Your Next Travel Adventure
Texas is a big state! From the coastal plains of Corpus Christi to the high plains of Amarillo, from the forests of Texarkana to the mountains of El Paso, history and hospitality go hand-in-hand as you travel our highways and back roads. Exploring Texas regionally is a great way to plan your travel across the state or to organize day trips if you are staying in one community for several days. The THC's Texas Time Travel is your statewide resource for exploring Texas' historic and cultural treasures. Use our Plan Your Adventure tools, travel themes, events calendar, travel guides, and mobile tours to find and learn about historic sites across the state.
The Bankhead Highway runs through six Texas Heritage Trail Regions: Forest, Forts, Lakes, Mountain, Pecos, and Plains.
Skip the monotonous interstate to experience a bygone era full of downtowns, diners, and diversions along the old Bankhead Highway. The Bankhead Highway is featured as part of the Historic Trails and Highways travel theme.