U.S. Highways > Highway 80

U.S. 80 in Texas

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Carnut:
First, this is a wonderful site and a fine tribute to U.S. 80.  I may be one of the few non truck driver types which have made a coast to coast trip more than once on U.S. 80 and have seen first hand many of the changes made in the 1950's and early 1960's before the completion of I-20, I-10, and I-8 (took all three to replace U.S. 80).

I grew up in Longview, Texas, which is located on U.S. 80.  Unlike many U.S. Highways the stretch of U.S. 80 between Dallas and Longview are pretty much as it was in 1960, though I-20 has taken most of the through traffic from it.  Also unlike so many routes where an Interstate Highway by-passed smaller towns, most of the towns on this stretch of U.S. 80 seem to have survived without serious incident.  Perhaps this is because I-20 was routed close enough to them the affect on most local businesses was minimal, who knows.

Until the late 1950's this particular stretch of U.S. 80 was basically two lanes through somewhat hilly terrain and there was a number of terrible automobile wrecks every month along this 120 mile or so stretch.  Circa 1957 the Texas Highway Department (now Texas Dept. of Transportation) began a widening project that would widen the entire 120 miles to four lanes within existing right of way space.  Needless to say the completion of the widening project saved many lives.

Taking a trip from Dallas to Longview or visa-versa today is basically a blast to the past on a highway that is in wonderful shape.  Many of the motels that existed along the way in the 1950's are still there.  Some even maintained well enough to spend a night.  There are also a number of eateries that were there in the 1950's. (I particularly recommend Johnny Caces Steak an Seafood House in Longview - great food and nice atmosphere)  Of course there are also the invaders in the form of today's typical fast food chains (Ugh).

 

Parsa:
Carnut,

Thanks for the post. I'm looking forward to visiting this section of 80 soon.
I'm a big Woody Guthrie fan, so I look forward to visiting Longview and playing East Texas Red.

If you can find like-minded folks in Texas, perhaps you can form a Texas 80 Association.

Parsa

Carnut:

--- Quote from: Parsa on April 22, 2008, 10:49:37 AM ---Carnut,

Thanks for the post. I'm looking forward to visiting this section of 80 soon.
I'm a big Woody Guthrie fan, so I look forward to visiting Longview and playing East Texas Red.

If you can find like-minded folks in Texas, perhaps you can form a Texas 80 Association.

Parsa



--- End quote ---

As you know U.S. 80 in Texas gets a bit entangled with U.S. 90 and what was dubbed as the Old Spanish Trail between 1915 and 1929 in efforts to achieve an all weather coast to coast trail or highway.  At this moment I'm a bit entangled with getting a more wide spread public recognition of that route.  However, I do think U.S. 80 from coast to coast is no less important historically speaking and perhaps second only in commercial importance to Route 66. 

While our friends along the OST Eastward to Florida feel the need to get recognition for the OST, in my opinion as a coast to coast commercial artery it was a failure given the fact the most commercial traffic continued to flow on U.S. 80 once it reached the junction with U.S. 90.  I attribute this to the almost illogical routing of U.S. 90 from Van Horn, Texas to San Antionio, Texas more or less along the Rio Grande River, adding many, many unnecessary miles and deviating significantly from the route chosen by the OSTA in the 1920's.  The route oversight was corrected with the construction of I-10 basically following the OST route of the 1920's from San Antonio to Van Horn, curiously ending I-20 at almost the same point U.S. 90 was ended some thirty-five years before, but I'm not at all sure that correction greatly increased the commercial traffic on the Eastern end of I-10.  Seems it the most of it from the West still flows onward to Dallas where it can head Northward on I-30 (the old U.S. 67), I-35, or continue Eastward on I-20.

I suppose I should start posting OST related information in that topic area given I now live just a couple of miles South of the original alignment roughly 85 miles West of Houston.  I drive portions of that original OST alignment at least once a week, sometimes more often.  There are places nearby where the original 1920s concrete is still in service and has never been capped with asphalt.

Jim



 

Parsa:
I guess I'm in the "more the merrier" camp. I would love to see lots of revived auto trail associations and US highway associations. I don't think of it as competition. Perhaps a business owner on one of the routes would, but tourists often visit multiple areas in their quest to see America and for old road nostalgia. To me US 80 and the OST east of Kent, Texas compliment each other nicely. As a tourist from either coast or from Europe, one could easily do a Dixie Overland Highway and Old Spanish Trail Loop. That's what Ed Fletcher's group did in 1926 for his race-against-time run from San Diego to Savannah. He took the Dixie Overland east, and the OST west. He was an officer on both associations (as well as on the Lee Highway Association and probably some others). To the folks on the Route 66 Federation, the 66 state associations, the California Historic Highway 80 board, the Lincoln and Yellowstone Highway associations, I say... more power to you.

Carnut:

--- Quote from: Parsa on May 08, 2008, 06:04:43 PM ---I guess I'm in the "more the merrier" camp. I would love to see lots of revived auto trail associations and US highway associations. I don't think of it as competition. Perhaps a business owner on one of the routes would, but tourists often visit multiple areas in their quest to see America and for old road nostalgia. To me US 80 and the OST east of Kent, Texas compliment each other nicely. As a tourist from either coast or from Europe, one could easily do a Dixie Overland Highway and Old Spanish Trail Loop. That's what Ed Fletcher's group did in 1926 for his race-against-time run from San Diego to Savannah. He took the Dixie Overland east, and the OST west. He was an officer on both associations (as well as on the Lee Highway Association and probably some others). To the folks on the Route 66 Federation, the 66 state associations, the California Historic Highway 80 board, the Lincoln and Yellowstone Highway associations, I say... more power to you.

--- End quote ---

I certainly agree with you on re-creation of "trail" and/or "highway" associations along the much traveled two lane routes of the 1930s through the mid 1960s.  It's really a hoot to just casually drive along taking in all there is to be seen.  Nothing much really enjoyable about speeding down the Interstates at 70 or more miles per hour looking for the next convenience store with gas, restrooms, and a fast food franchise.  Good grief, what have we come to anyway?

I would love to see trail or highway associations putting together annual driving events along many of those roads.  Getting the car clubs and motorcycle clubs out revisiting America is what I believe to be the key to insuring the old two lanes don't just fade away for lack of public awareness.

Jim

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