Bankhead Highway, aided by the 1916 Federal Road Act, which would supply funds
to help states improve roadways, was America’s second transcontinental highway
and celebrated as a southern all-weather route joining Washington D.C. to San
Diego, California. The Bankhead Highway passed through many Texas
communities, including Garland. The first Texas historic marker
celebrating the Bankhead Highway is located in Downtown Garland on Main Street
between 5th & 6th Streets.
Bankhead Highway Association Secretary, Arthur P. Dyer, noted that Garland was
the only town on the Texas Route, which had voluntarily organized and gone to
work without asking for outside help. The residents of Garland took advantage
of the highway’s potential for economic growth; auto repair shops, restaurants
and service stations were all built along Main Street. Today, upon closer
inspection, many of the older buildings along Main Street still bear remnants
of the economic impact of the Bankhead Highway, including painted advertisements
on the building that once housed “The Ford House” opened in ca. 1917, architecture of the buildings that housed Morrison’s Garage in the late 1920s
and other auto-related businesses.
Bankhead Highway entered Garland on old bridges crossing Lake Ray Hubbard (that
are only exposed during drought times as bridge remnants) continuing west
on Commerce Street and Main Street and then traveling out of Garland via
South Garland Road, Miller Road and Jupiter Road.
Bankhead Highway was officially designated as Texas Highway 1 in 1917, but it
also retained the official Bankhead name until 1926, when it became part of US
Highway 67. Interestingly, the Bankhead name attached to the Garland
section of the route remained until the early 1950s.