We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

History along the Way

Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers

Dan K. Utley

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


pdf iconDownload PDF (9.6 MB)
p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (765.0 KB)
pp. 2-6


pdf iconDownload PDF (53.6 KB)
pp. vi-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (47.0 KB)
pp. ix-xii

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. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (38.7 KB)
pp. 1-2

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

read more

Chapter 1. A Chance Encounter of the Great Procession

pdf iconDownload PDF (378.1 KB)
pp. 5-18

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. ...

read more

Chapter 2. John Ben’s Critters

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 19-34

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. ...

read more

Chapter 3. A Life in Ragged Time

pdf iconDownload PDF (305.6 KB)
pp. 35-46

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, ...

read more

Chapter 4. Turn East to Texas

pdf iconDownload PDF (518.1 KB)
pp. 47-62

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. ...

read more

Chapter 5. Illumined by Truthful Artistic Ideals

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 63-77

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. ...

read more

Chapter 6. Her Lonely Way Back Home

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 78-96

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

read more

Chapter 7. And the Cars Keep Rolling By

pdf iconDownload PDF (554.4 KB)
pp. 99-114

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, ...

read more

Chapter 8. “To Have What We Must”

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.3 MB)
pp. 115-133

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. ...

read more

Chapter 9. A Journey back to Nature

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 134-147

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. ...

read more

Chapter 10. Lift High the Water

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
pp. 148-161

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. ...

read more

Chapter 11. The Normal on Chautauqua Hill

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 162-182

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. ...

read more

Chapter 12. History on the Grounds

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 183-202

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

read more

Chapter 13. Justice Is the Corporate Face of Love

pdf iconDownload PDF (785.4 KB)
pp. 205-219

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. ...

read more

Chapter 14. A Light on the Path of Wisdom

pdf iconDownload PDF (603.0 KB)
pp. 220-234

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. ...

read more

Chapter 15. Two Generations Striving for Civil Rights

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 235-251

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, ...

read more

Chapter 16. A Citizen with Work to Do

pdf iconDownload PDF (555.6 KB)
pp. 252-270

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 ...

read more

Chapter 17. Here I Am in Palestine

pdf iconDownload PDF (593.8 KB)
pp. 271-285

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. ...

read more

Chapter 18. The Three Graves of Judge Baylor

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.9 MB)
pp. 286-304

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, ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (136.3 KB)
pp. 305-322


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.2 KB)
pp. 323-336

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.5 MB)
p. 354-354

E-ISBN-13: 9781603448185
E-ISBN-10: 1603448187
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603447690

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 39 color, 33 b&w photos. 3 maps. Index.
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: A Texas A&M Travel Guide