Meridian Highway Survey

Meridian Highway Project Information

The Meridian Highway project entailed the preparation of a historic context for the Meridian Highway and the completion of a historic resources survey along the Meridian Highway. Based on consultations among Hardy-Heck-Moore, Inc. (HHM), the THC, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the historic context traced the evolution of the Meridian Highway in Texas from the period of early settlement ca. 1700 through the completion of the modern interstate highway system ca. 1980. To break this large time span into more meaningful units, the project team subdivided the context into smaller, more discrete periods based on important historical trends and events that greatly influenced the evolution of the state's highway system. The project team placed an emphasis on the period from ca. 1800 through ca. 1932, which witnessed the emergence of a complex network of county roads, named highways, and state highways for vehicles with internal combustion engines. Within each of the defined time periods, the context examines some of the broad trends and social history related to highway development at that time in Texas.

For the purposes of this study and funding constraints, the project team limited the investigations to the Meridian Highway historic context, surveying road-related resources, and a closer inspection of five communities to see how the Meridian Highway affected them. These communities are Bowie, Waco, San Antonio, Laredo, and Houston. These case studies should enable one to understand some of the major patterns associated with the Meridian Highway and urban land-use and development and apply to other cities along the route. This group includes small-, medium-, and large-sized communities, and extends over a broad goegraphic area. Additional project deliverables included discussion of the property types associated with historic Texas highways, along with a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) evaluation methodology and registration requirements. The project subsequently included field investigations to identify, document, and evaluate historic resources along the Bankhead Highway from Texarkana to El  Paso.

Meridian Highway Survey Results

The Meridian Highway project involved the survey of 1,600+ resources along 900+ miles of roadway. A historic context report was written on the Meridian Highway history and development, and includes the five case studies. The survey information has been compiled into an inventory and on survey forms, which may be helpful to researchers and consultants.

Meridian Highway Historic Context report (32 MB)

The Survey Forms present addtional information on the identified resources that are officially listed in the NRHP, or are recommended eligible for inclusion in the NRHP individually or as a contributing element in an NRHP-eligible district. The form for each resource is limited to a single page, and the results are presented in county order, moving north to south. Besides including information about each resource's physical attributes, history, and preservation/designation recommendations, the form contains photographic documentation that captures the resource's salient features.

Meridian Highway Survey Forms part 1 (21 MB)

Meridian Highway Survey Forms part 2 (21 MB)

Meridian Highway Survey Forms part 3 (24 MB)

Meridian Highway Survey Forms part 4 (18 MB)

The Inventory Table lists the extant auto-related resources that front onto the various alignments of the Meridian Highway over time. This inventory presents the results of field investigations and includes NRHP assessments for the basis of preservation planning purposes. Organized in county order, moving north to south, and by Resource ID order, the inventory includes a thumbnail image of the resource, its address and/or geographic location, and salient physical attributes.

Meridian Highway Inventory (16.7 MB)