Before American roads and highways had designated numbers they had names. These names were associated with politicians who help make the roadways reality. Political clout allowed politicians the ability to be forever remembered by having their names tied with cross-country roadways. This legacy was compromised when the highway department organized state and national highways with the numerical system used today.
The Bankhead Highway was named for John Hollis Bankhead an Alabama politician. According to the Texas Historical Commissions website the Bankhead Highway ran from Washington D.C. to San Diego, Ca. with construction beginning in 1916 making the Bankhead Highway one of the earliest continuous routes from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Over 850 miles of the Bankhead Highway existed in Texas. Today much of the original route is covered by Texas highways 67 and 80 while others sections were left abandoned and reclaimed by nature. There are still parts of the Bankhead that are maintained and Tab Across Texas set out to find a piece of the Bankhead and experience a drive on a road that is 110 years old. We started our adventure in Weatherford, Texas, and decided to travel west toward the town of Mineral Wells, Texas.
The remaining sections of the Bankhead are clearly marked and have little traffic so the journey down the Bankhead can be easy and casual.
Keep an eye out for some vintage concrete. This bridge has seen better days but has supported and witnessed more than a century of traffic on the Bankhead Highway.
A rest stop along the highway dates from 1936. The lonesome picnic table sits waiting for the next weary traveler to take a break in the shade of the Oak tree canopy.
Our trip on the Bankhead Highway terminated at the Crazy Water Well in Mineral Wells, Texas.
The taps allow the public to purchase the Crazy Water pumped out of the original well. It did take a while to get our bottle filled.