The Bankhead National Highway, from Washington, D.C., to San Diego, California, was the nation's first all-weather, coast-to-coast highway. The southern road skirted the western mountains and was largely free from ice and snow, so it could be used reliably year-round. It was named for Alabama Senator John H. Bankhead, author of the Federal Highway Act of 1916, which provided federal aid to states for highway construction.
An "All Texas" route from Texarkana to El Paso was approved when the Bankhead Highway Association met at Mineral Wells in April, 1919. A few branches were also approved. The primary route coincided with Texas Highway No. 1. About 900 miles long, the Texas 1 Bankhead comprised nearly one-third of the total length of the national road.
The Texas Bankhead became part of the route known as the "Broadway of America." After numbers replaced names on national highways in 1926, the Bankhead route from Texarkana became part of US-67 to Dallas, where it joined US-80. Those federal highways were often realigned and by the 1960s gave way to Interstates 30 and 20 (which merged with I-10 in far West Texas).
Despite the changes, most of the early Bankhead in Texas remains as state and county roads that connect the towns which the interstates by-passed. The Bankhead name lives on
in public memory, as do miles of Bankhead pavement from the 1920s.