What became of old marker on state line?by
of us living along Route 66
who research and promote the old road's history have long pondered the fate of
a missing Texas Highway monument. Many old-timers still remember entering Texas
from Texola, Okla., to the east
and passing by a neat, art-deco design granite monument alerting motorists they
were now in Texas. |
Local efforts and resources
could not turn up clues to the monument's whereabouts, or fate, only that it most
certainly once stood proudly by the road. The time period was estimated as "about
John Troesser, editor of the popular online magazine TexasEscapes.com,
entered the search when a
damaged photo was sent in by Richard Benton of Oklahoma City. The photo showed
Richard's father standing in front of the
monument, proof it really did exist at some date. No date or information was
written on the photo.
Then, Anne Cook, the photo librarian at TxDOT, entered
the hunt. Though TxDOT was organized in 1953, their library dates further. It
was believed the
monument would be tied to the Texas
At this point John Anderson at the Texas State Library
and Archives entered the search. Information was found showing the 1936
Texas Centennial was a very big event and that hundreds of distinctive, gray
granite markers were placed throughout the state, many still standing today.
the art-deco design of this particular marker was not like the others. Why? No
one knows but at that time, the State
Fair in Dallas featured some art-deco sculptures on display.
Jim Steely whose passion was Depression-era structures, who remembered seeing
our particular monument and proceeded to locate additional photos from Centennial
Photo Albums in Austin. Eventually, our mystery monument was identified as the
one which stood just past the state line on Old
Route 66 in Texas, but captioned as being located on State Highway 75,
the forerunner to Route 66. Though Route 66 was born in 1927, many portions of
the National Highway especially in this area were not paved or completed until
the mid-1930s due to the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Parts of the old highway
from Groom to the state line
had to rely on WPA and CCC personnel and funds to complete the improvements.
final effort to locate the monument or its grave if that be the fate, is to see
if someone, some record or some bit of information is still around in the Wheeler
County TxDOT archives or former employee's memories telling the final end to the
mystery. The size and weight of the structure shouts the demise was not easy and
its beautiful form was probably shattered in its removal. |
So now, after
20-plus years, the what, why, design, photo and original location has been discovered.
Where the bones of the victim are buried is still under investigation.
A small wooden replica of the monument has been built and is exhibited
in the Texas Old Route 66
Museum in McLean. There
are rumors a full-size replica of the monument might be constructed. Who knows?
Maybe the long lost, Texas
Mystery Monument will live again, somewhere.
© Delbert Trew
All Trew" May 5, 2009 Column
Related Topics: Texas
Centennial | Texas
Monuments | Texas Towns | Texas