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Early Bankhead , or the Southern National Highway

Before it was the Bankhead Highway, it was the Southern National Highway


Map of a highway colored in orange
The only map I've ever found of the Southern National Highway, which was renamed the Bankhead Highway in 1916.

Pssst... I'll let you on a little secret. Before the Bankhead Highway was named such in 1916, it was known as the Southern National Highway. One of the first named transcontinental roads in the U.S., the path led motorists from Washington D.C. to San Diego, California. There were two routes: one went through Arkansas and North Texas, and the other through Alabama, southern Louisiana, and southern Texas to meet up with the northern route at El Paso on the way to California.


The Southern National Highway was renamed in 1916 to honor Good Roads Promoter, Alabama Senator John Hollis Bankhead.


The northern route for the Southern National Highway through the Red River Valley was further modified to connect to Alabama by the late 1910s. But the original route of the Southern National Highway through the Red River Valley was used in the military motor convoy of 1920.


Enjoy this rare map in full at the University of Wisconsin.

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