Texarkana to El Paso: 15 Best Stops on a Historic Texas Road Trip
The Bankhead Highway, also known as Broadway of America, stretched from Washington, DC to San Diego, California, and was one of the country’s first transcontinental highways. In 1917, the Texas Highway Department designated the 850 miles of the Bankhead Highway in Texas as State Highway 1. The Bankhead Highway was originally named in honor of John H. Bankhead, a senator from Alabama.
If you have a collection of old family photos from the 1910s and 1920s, you can have a photograph of an early automobile with parents dressed in costumes, hats, and dresses commemorating their first crossing of the country. Due to the increase in road travel, new economic resources have developed along the Bankhead Highway, including repair garages, gas stations, restaurants, cafes, tourist camps and courts, hotels, road markers and bridges.
Driving non-stop from Texarkana to El Paso takes over twelve hours. Let’s explore the old and the new along the way. Profound changes in the landscape range from the pine forests of east Texas, the central plains, high hills and farmland cleared by mesquites to the mountainous Chihuahuan Desert of west Texas. Today we will take a detour via I-30, I-20 and I-10 through Texas, parallel to the old Bankhead Road. Let’s go!
Texarkana, Texas, is the sister city of Texarkana, Arkansas, and is located 179 miles east of Dallas. Start driving on the Bankhead along US 67 in Texarkana east to Greenville or cross I-30 and take detours.
The beautifully restored Pérot Theater, built in 1924, was a venue for silent films, plays, and critics, with later first-run films and plays. H. Ross Perot contributed largely to the costs of restoring his parents’ memory. A statue of his brother, who died at the age of 3, stands on the second floor.
the Club House Draft-Moore Ace, an Italian-style Victorian house, was built in 1885 with the winnings of a game of poker from the ace of clubs toss.
Pro tip: Take an Instagram photo straddling the Texas-Arkansas border at The island of photographers, located opposite the Texarkana Post Office.
2. Mount Vernon
Visit the Historic Bankhead Freeway Visitor Center in the 1868 Henry Clay Thruston House at Mount Vernon.
the Franklin County Courthouse in Mount Vernon was built in 1911 and restored in 2014.
In the days of Bankhead Highway, the Sinclair gas station was called 2211 Stonewall Street from 1930. Today the site is a home appliance depot.
the American Cotton Museum Audie Murphy honors the most decorated soldier of WWII. Murphy received 24 decorations, including the US Congressional Medal of Honor. He became a successful movie star, portraying himself in To hell and back, his war career autobiography. His burial in Arlington National Cemetery follows an untimely death in a plane crash in May 1971.
Pro tip: Stop at Buc-ee’s in Royse City on I-30 33 miles east of Dallas, known for competitively priced gas, clean restrooms, snacks, and shopping. This place is huge, with 99 gas stations.
4. Garland, a suburb of Dallas
You will see the old bridges during droughts in Lake Ray Hubbard that were part of the old Bankhead Highway. Garland was the only town in Texas along the route that organized itself and went to work without outside help to build gas stations, car lots, restaurants, and auto repair shops along Main Street. The Bankhead name remained attached to the Garland segment until the early 1950s, when drivers began to access the new, faster and safer interstate highway system.
To see the Bankhead Highway Historic Marker on Main Street on the south side of Garland Public Square.
You’ll see plenty of Bankhead-era gas stations, auto repair shops, and small car dealerships on Elm Street and Commerce Street in Dallas. Stay on I-30 through Dallas.
The Bankhead Highway, US 80, crossed Arlington on Division Street. If there hadn’t been a Bankhead highway, there wouldn’t have been Arlington Downs Racecourse, no Six Flags Over Texas, no Masonic House, no Top of the Hill Terrace Casino, and no General Motors plant.
6. Fort Worth
East Lancaster Avenue crossing Fort Worth was part of the Bankhead Highway.
Stay at Hotel, an Autograph Collection hotel with a luxury Western theme, in the Stockyards neighborhood. To explore Mules alley for wine merchants, western clothing, the King Ranch Saddle Shop, the Second Rodeo Brewing Company, and more.
You can also stay in the luxurious Omni Hotel, just off I-30 in downtown Fort Worth. Then cross the street to Fort Worth Water Gardens, go up the avenue to Dance Square, and dive into Réata for a Texas margarita and my favorite filet tamales.
Miles of Large Bankhead Loom Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth in Weatherford, still crossed by locals.
Old car museum houses a classic automobile museum, conference hall and event center on the old Bankhead Road.
Pro tip: Fire oak grill It is so good; I love the bacon-stuffed jalapeños and the beef tenderloin tacos. You can’t beat wagyu beef chicken fried steak with whipped potatoes and green beans.
The Bankhead Hotel was built in the early 1920s on the Bankhead Highway in Straw. You will see the hand-laid brick street that was built a hundred years ago.
Pro tip: Stopped at Marie’s coffee in Strawn for the world’s best fried chicken steak. the rest area Heading west, at the top of Ranger Hill, there is a fantastic cluster of exhibits on the Bankhead Freeway, including an antique Texaco gas station with a gas pump.
The Abilene Preservation League inherited the Bankhead era Courts of Abilene on Eleventh Street on August 13, 2020.
Belle’s Chicken Dinner House, a rustic, southern-inspired restaurant is the best place for a family meal like fried chicken, chicken fried steak, family style veg, homemade yeast buns and, of course, pie. Belle’s is open 11-2.
Lytle Land & Cattle Company won the title for Best Chicken Steak and Fries in West Texas and Best Multi-Purpose Restaurant in Abilene.
10. The city of Colorado
To see the menu which shows the Bankhead Highway that takes you through Colorado City.
the West Texas Heart Museum, housed in a restored historic mansion in downtown Colorado City, tells the story of Chief Kiowa Lone Wolf and displays a trademark cowboy heritage wall and prehistoric bison skeleton found in Lone Wolf Creek.
11. Great spring
Hotel settles down, the crown jewel of West Texas, is the hotel to plan your stay along the Bankhead Highway. Designed by architect David Castle, the 15-story, 150-room hotel opened on October 1, 1930, with a restaurant and pharmacy. Will R. and Lillian Settles built the hotel after discovering oil on their ranch. At the time, the hotel was the tallest building between El Paso and Fort Worth. G. Brint Ryan bought the hotel and invested $ 30 million in its renovation.
Dine in the Colonists Grill, offering comforting West Texas cuisine in a casual dining experience. the Bar and pharmacy lounge offers an extensive beer and wine list, as well as classic cocktails in a welcoming atmosphere.
Check Big Springs Visitor Center on the historic Bankhead Highway in downtown Big Spring.
The Bankhead Highway in Midland still exists, connecting two areas of West Wall Street. Located in a large mansion from 1937, the South West Museum offers a picture of the life of Midland Oil Baron Fred Turner during the oil boom. You’ll see a dozen fireplaces, opulent architectural details, and several art exhibits.
Jenna Welch Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Study Center I-20 consists of 86 acres of urban habitat that is home to local bird populations, thousands of migratory birds, and other native wildlife.
The old US Highway 80, formerly Bankhead, crossed Pécos. After Pecos, the Bankhead is now the service road for Interstate 20. Toyah is where the first bridge on the Bankhead Highway crossed the Pecos River. You can see the black truss bridge from the road, but it’s on private property.
14. Van Horn
El Capitan Hotel, the destination in Van Horn, is located two blocks from I-10 at 100 E Broadway. The hotel has 36 rooms and suites, ranging from small rooms facing the exterior of the building to larger rooms with patio doors opening onto the courtyard. The hotel was built in 1930 by Gateway Hotel Chain and designed by architect Henry Trost of El Paso. It was renovated in 2009. The El Capitan Dining Room and Gopher Hole Bar open daily at 5 PM.
Red Rock Ranch, home to an 1880 ranch and western movie set, features Native American pictograms and dark red, purple, and pink Cambrian formations.
15. El Paso
The famous 10 stories from the Bankhead era Paso del Norte Hotel displays the 25 foot diameter stained glass dome of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Paso del Norte, built in El Paso between 1910 and 1912, survives as one of the most elegant hotels in West Texas. Today it is a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.
Savor it The Mirador, a lively atmosphere on the tenth floor overlooking downtown El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. It has a full bar with wine, beer and handcrafted cocktails with a tapas menu.
the Sabor Cocina features authentic El Paso Mexican cuisine and the city’s largest selection of tequila. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In conclusion, the Bankhead Highway in Texas is full of Instagram-worthy moments in kitsch landmarks, retro restaurants, quirky museums, historic hotels, and stunning scenery to create lasting memories.