History along the Way
Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers
Publication Year: 2013
Texans love stories, and the 15,000 roadside markers along the state’s highways and byways testify to the abundance of tales to tell. History along the Way recounts the narratives behind and beyond more than one hundred Texas roadside markers.
Peopled with colorful characters—a national leader of Camp Fire Girls, an army engineer who mapped the Republic of Texas frontier, a hunter of mammoth bones, a ragtime composer, civil rights leaders, and an iconic rock star, among others—the book gives readers an intriguing and expanded look at the details, challenges, and lives commemorated by the words cast in metal on these wayside markers scattered across the Lone Star landscape.
Also recounted in History along the Way are the stories of historic structures (from roadside architecture and elaborate West Texas hotels to university Old Mains and country schoolhouses of Gillespie County), engineering features (the Hidalgo Pumphouse in South Texas and the Rainbow Bridge in East Texas), and even town mascots (a jackrabbit, a mule, and a prairie dog). Accompanied by helpful maps, colorful photographs, and informative sidebars, History along the Way is guaranteed to inform, amuse, and intrigue.
Every part of Texas gets a visit in this anthology of select sites, making it easy for travelers—both the armchair and touring varieties—to enjoy and learn about the fascinating nooks and crannies of history captured in all their variety by the roadside markers of Texas.
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
The process of writing is in a sense like striking out on a long journey without a highly detailed road map. The authors may have a strong sense of where they started and maybe a vision of where they are headed, but along the route they often have to stop and ask directions or ask for the best local places to visit. ...
As we prepared to turn in the manuscript for this, the second volume of our work on the stories behind the roadside markers of Texas, there was great uncertainty about the future of the Texas Historical Commission (THC), which oversees the Official Texas Historical Marker Program. ...
Part One. Texas Originals
Chapter 1. A Chance Encounter of the Great Procession
As the planting season approached in 1933, migrant farm worker Charles Puckett prepared to work the soil on the Charles Ross Cowan ranch nine miles northwest of Miami in Roberts County. It was a time of unprecedented economic downturn in the nation, and the Panhandle of Texas was in the early phases of a drought that would also prove to be unprecedented. ...
Chapter 2. John Ben’s Critters
Texas is a unique state, and Texans love to make claims of uniqueness. Whether it’s the oldest, biggest, richest, first, or only, the claims often owe more to community boosterism than history, although many are at least based on some historical event or connection. ...
Chapter 3. A Life in Ragged Time
Not much is known of Euday Louis Bowman, and what little has been written about his life is often limited, repetitive, conjectural, or inconsistent. Available sources disagree on key components of his life, even ones that would seem to be easily documented, and there is little historical analysis of his personal struggles, ...
Chapter 4. Turn East to Texas
People have been moving into or passing through Texas for millennia, but only a relative few have left behind records of their travels. Some left evidence inadvertently through archeological remains and artifacts, cemeteries, public records, or family stories. ...
Chapter 5. Illumined by Truthful Artistic Ideals
Writing in 1907 about the Great Southwest in an advertising pamphlet distributed by his El Paso, Texas, architectural firm, Henry C. Trost explained in a rather romantic fashion the allure of the region that drew him to make it his home: “The atmosphere of the southwest is wonderfully clear. ...
Chapter 6. Her Lonely Way Back Home
January 19, 2008, was a cold, drizzly day in Port Arthur, Texas. A large crowd gathered that morning in a Baptist church fellowship hall on 32nd Street and sat reverently listening to recordings of a couple of Janis Joplin songs—“Mercedes Benz” and “Me and Bobby McGee”—and many began singing along as they warmed to the familiar tunes from their past. ...
Part Two. The Texas Cultural Landscape
Chapter 7. And the Cars Keep Rolling By
In his seminal study of the evolving American roadside landscape, Main Street to Miracle Mile, cultural historian and preservationist Chester H. Liebs provides a visual context of what he terms “the movie through the windshield.” With the advent of the Automobile Age in the early twentieth century, ...
Chapter 8. “To Have What We Must”
In the late afternoon of Sunday, April 11, 1965, at an informal ceremony just down the road from his Texas Hill Country ranch, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a sweeping reform measure that marked a new progressive era for the nation’s schools. ...
Chapter 9. A Journey back to Nature
On September 25, 2010, as part of its Texas in World War II initiative, the Texas Historical Commission dedicated an Official Texas Historical Marker at the site of the former Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant near Caddo Lake in the East Texas hamlet of Karnack. ...
Chapter 10. Lift High the Water
On a clear spring day in April 2010, three men sat around a table in the middle of a museum in Hidalgo, Texas, reminiscing with a writer about their respective roles in preserving the historic building where they met. All were modest, and one even begged off early rather than talk too much about himself. ...
Chapter 11. The Normal on Chautauqua Hill
A prominent ridgeline, part of the vast Balcones Escarpment system that defines the eastern edges of the Texas Hill Country, provides a dramatic backdrop for the cultural landscape of San Marcos, the seat of Hays County. At the eastern end of the ridgeline is a stately castlelike edifice that visually dominates smaller buildings dotting the nearby hillside. ...
Chapter 12. History on the Grounds
Texans love to remember, commemorate, and celebrate their history. In numerous studies conducted by travel and tourism organizations, historic sites and museums consistently rank in the top ten on lists of places Texans, as well as out-of-state visitors, travel to see. ...
Part Three. Texans Reaching Out
Chapter 13. Justice Is the Corporate Face of Love
World events in the early and middle years of the twentieth century, including the difficult era of the Great Depression and the monumental effects of two world wars, engendered social, religious, and political changes to the American landscape that combined to inspire countless people to become involved in civil rights and social justice movements. ...
Chapter 14. A Light on the Path of Wisdom
A brief article in a 1937 issue of the Sherman Daily Democrat listed the accomplishments of a prominent local citizen: “The mother of three sons has been a leader of girls continuously for 16 years, and her contributions to local, district, state and national projects of the Camp Fire Girls organization has won for her national recognition as a welfare worker. ...
Chapter 15. Two Generations Striving for Civil Rights
Life in Texas and the South shaped the characters of two men whose spiritual, intellectual, and organizational leadership had enormous impact on the modern civil rights movement. The Reverend James Leonard Farmer Sr. and his son, James Leonard Farmer Jr., differed in their approaches toward achieving racial equality in America, ...
Chapter 16. A Citizen with Work to Do
At the Texas State Capitol in March 1925, during the waning days of the regular session of the Thirty-ninth Legislature, members of the board of regents of the state normal schools (teacher colleges) sat in the senate gallery observing the proceedings. As they monitored the progress of legislation affecting public education ...
Chapter 17. Here I Am in Palestine
In the fall of 1944, during World War II, two mothers of US servicemen sent heartfelt letters of thanks to residents of Palestine in East Texas. The two women—one from the Midwest and the other from New England—acted independently but with shared appreciation for the hospitality shown their sons, whose troop trains had stopped briefly in the Anderson County seat. ...
Chapter 18. The Three Graves of Judge Baylor
Few early figures in Texas history could match the depth of public service that marked the life of Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor. He was at various times in his life a lawyer, soldier, politician, jurist, preacher, and teacher. Born in 1793 to a successful merchant family in Lincoln County, Kentucky, in the center of the state, ...
Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 39 color, 33 b&w photos. 3 maps. Index.
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: A Texas A&M Travel Guide
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