US 67 (former Bankhead Hwy) through Mount Pleasant in Titus County around 1940 (Photo courtesy of TxDOT Archives).

With all the rumblings about how much traffic is or isn’t going to be diverted to Gaston Avenue, remember that Gaston was once part of a transcontinental highway called the Bankhead Highway, also known as the Broadway of America. Completed in the 1920s, it was part of a series of auto trails to help early automobile travelers navigate the United States. The Bankhead even predates Route 66, which was also part of the system.

The Bankhead Highway ran from Washington D.C. to San Diego, including over 800 miles through Texas between Texarkana and El Paso. In Dallas proper, it came down State Highway 78 from Garland, hung a right on Gaston Avenue and ran right through our neighborhood before heading downtown and into Oak Cliff.

The road was named for Alabama Senator John H. Bankhead, a major supporter of the highway. Businesses that catered to motorists congregated along its path, resulting in hotels, restaurants, car dealerships and gas stations. Much of the original downtown Lakewood developed around the same time that the Bankhead Highway was completed.

If this pique’s your interest, check out the Texas Historical Commission’s site about the Bankhead Highway in Texas, interact with other enthusiasts in this Bankhead Highway history group on Facebook, and see a map of the route in Dallas.

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