The first Texas historic marker celebrating the Bankhead Highway is located in Downtown Garland on Main Street between 5th & 6th Streets. The 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.
Texas 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.
The Bankhead Highway entered Garland on old bridges crossing Lake Ray Hubbard (that are only exposed during drought times as bridge remnants) continuing west onCommerce Street and Main Street and then traveling out of Garland via South Garland Road, Miller Road and Jupiter Road.
The 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.