OST CELEBRATES 90TH ANNIVERSARY
The Old Spanish Trail got its official launch on December 10-11, 1915 at a good roads convention in Mobile. Read the press coverage on its anniversary here:
DRIVE ON TO MAKE HWY 80 OFFICIALLY HISTORIC
A group in San Diego County is working to have US 80 designated a state historic route. Full article here.
SAN DIEGO SUPERVISORS SUPPORT OLD HIGHWAY 80
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is in support of a proposal to designate Old Highway 80, once part of the Broadway of America, as a state historic route. Full article here.
BILOXI'S TIVOLI NAMED TO MOST ENDANGERED LIST
2005 Update: The Tivoli was greatly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. See pictures of it and other Biloxi landmarks here.
The Mississippi Heritage Trust named the 1927 Tivoli Hotel, Biloxi, as one of the state's ten most endangered places.
The Trust describes the Tivoli as: "one of the few remaining Grande Dame resorts of the 1920s - a roaring time when the Mississippi Gulf Coast was known as the American Riviera. The hotel was featured as an apartment hotel with 64 guest rooms on four floors. The first floor contained a striking barrel-vaulted lobby with a magnificent ballroom to one side and the large dining room to the other. According to the newspaper accounts the Tivoli opened 'in a whirl of dancing, a kaleidoscopic blaze of color and a musical festival of barbaric jazz.' Through the years, many attempts have been made to restore the building to its former glory, including plans to turn it into a halfway house, a resort, and a health center.Despite these efforts, the building still sits empty, waiting to be called a Grande Dame once again."
Several years ago a New Orleans developer had an option on the property, with plans on redeveloping it into high-end condominiums. The plans went nowhere; the current owner is keen on turning the old hotel into a small-scale casino.
FORMER OST TOURIST ROUTE NAMED THIRD BEST RIDE IN TEXAS
Texas Highway 16, a former tourist route of the Old Spanish Trail connecting San Antonio to Kerrville, was recently named the third best road to ride in Texas. Additionally, the Old Spanish Trail restaurant in Bandera -- one of the last businesses along the entire coast-to-coast highway retaining an original OST name -- ranked sixth for best road food.
MIGRANT TOPONYMS ALONG OST
Interesting piece on the creation of place names along dangerous border entry trails. The article focuses on the arid, rocky region of Tecate, Mexico, adjacent to the Old Spanish Trail, San Diego County.
It seems that every few years a Tucsonan asks: "What's the origin of the Old Spanish Trail?" They are, of course, referring to that ersatz road east of town that leads to Colossal Cave. At least this article has uncovered a new date for its construction: Feb. 6, 1950. How precise! There are, however, other indications that a road by this name was in place by the 1940s. The mystery will continue.
Copyright The Arizona Daily Star Feb 7, 2005
Today's topic comes courtesy of Tucsonan Richard Hinsley, who asks:"What's the origin of the name of that East Side road named Old Spanish Trail?"
The name of the road that meanders from East Broadway through the Southeast Side and on to the scenic Rincon Valley evokes images of armor-clad conquistadores on horseback.
But that would be a false image created, apparently, by tourism boosters in the 1950s.
Finding no information in the Arizona Daily Star archives nor with the city and county transportation departments, Road Runner checked in with the Arizona Historical Society.
Dave Tackenberg, an archivist there, dug through his files and found a document dated Jan. 7, 1987, that says Old Spanish Trail was established Feb. 6, 1950, from East Broadway to Freeman Road.
The document states that Old Spanish Trail is a redesignated portion of Old Vail Road and "does not correspond to anything Spanish. Does not date from Spanish period," he said.
J.J. Lamb, the education director at Colossal Cave Mountain Park who also serves as something of an area historian, believes Tucson's Old Spanish Trail is a portion of the old coast-to-coast U.S. Highway 80, which largely has been replaced by present-day Interstate 10.
Accounts differ as to whether Spanish traders, conquistadores and missionaries used some or all of that route, which Lamb said mainly was a series of "loosely organized tourist spots" from San Diego to Jacksonville, Fla. Tucson is one of many cities along the route.
And no, that Old Spanish Trail was not part of the real Old Spanish Trail, located far to the north. That historic trade route - more than 2,700 miles in length, blazed by American Indians, then used by Spaniards, Mexicans and, finally, Americans - originated in what is now Los Angeles and wound its way through the tip of southern Nevada, Northern Arizona, Utah, and Colorado before reaching Santa Fe.
AUTOMOBILES.COM SELECTS OLD SPANISH TRAIL AS LEGENDARY DRIVE
The Legendary Drives section of automobiles.com features the OST in Louisiana, from Houma to Breaux Bridge.
Bearing years of neglect, the C&B Auto Camp in Lordsburg was demolished late last year, completing the demise of Lordsburg's once proud collection of motor courts and tourist hotels.
Constructed in 1927, the popular auto camp provided temporary shelter for tourist crossing the desert stretch of the Old Spanish Trail and the Broadway of America highways.
Its single room adobe cabins originally circled around a small single-pump gas station detailed with Pueblo Revial accents. Like all true auto camps, toilets and showers were not provided in the cabins but located in a central washhouse.
The small auto camp weathered the changes of the 1930 and '40s, upgrading to the Lone Star Motel. Though abandoned at last visit, the cabins remained sturdy, and the varied pinks, yellows, and greens of each unit, gave the roadside ruin a bit of charm.
Its destruction joins a long list of famous hostelries in Lordsburg that surrendered to the beat of "progress." These include the impressive Trost &Trost designed Hotel Hidalgo, the eye-catching Hidalgo Court, the Lordsburg Tourist Camp, the Circle J Camp, the Biltmore Camp, and the wonderfully named One Hundred Eighty Auto Camp.
Today, only the shell of the former Hawkins Camp remains to mutely tell the story of Lordsburg?s once-prominent position as a must-stop along the Old Spanish Trail.
Given the temporary nature of auto camps, it's surprising the C&B lasted this long.
The 2004 Federal Highway Administration's Excellence in Highway Design awards were announced at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on Sept. 18.
The honorees include historic bridges, stunning modern structures, and urban greenways - all contributing to the safety, mobility, and aesthetics of the area.
Winning in the category of historic preservation: the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge, Yuma County Department of Development Services, City of Yuma Department of Public Works, and Quechan Indian Tribe. The bridge rehabilitation project reestablished a vital and historically significant highway linkage across the Colorado River between Arizona and California.
Constructed in 1915 as a joint effort between the Office of Indian Affairs and the states of California, Arizona and New Mexico to promote travel along the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, and later the Old Spanish Trail, the bridge opened as the first highway span over the Colorado River in Arizona.
The venerable bridge carried transcontinental traffic until 1988, when it was deemed structurally unsound and restricted to foot traffic. Recently it received a $2 million dollar upgrade, and reopened in 2002 to limited one-way traffic.
The glorious "Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Yuma" sign was restored and now illuminates with a gentle white light every night at dusk.
For information on the award, see: http://www.icmarc.org/xp/news/highway/63223606.xml
The updated AA-Florida web site contains some nice photos of the Milton and Blackwater River sections of the Old Spanish Trail.
SANTA FE The sole Ozark Trails marker in New Mexico, a 21-foot tall concrete tapered shaft in the middle of an intersection in Lake Arthur, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places at the State level of significance, the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division announced today.
The marker, a near obelisk except for its lack of a pyramid top, is complete with a concrete base that bears the town's name painted in green on all four sides. From its flat top sprouts a large shepherd's crook streetlight. It sits in the center of the desolate intersection of Main and Broadway streets in Lake Arthur, population 432, and is one of seven such remaining highway markers in the United States.
One of many projects of entrepreneur William Hope Harvey, the Ozark Trails promoted tourism and highway development across the Southwest, and later influenced the course of Route 66 across Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. The only surviving Ozark Trails marker in New Mexico, the pyramid at Lake Arthur is a rare artifact of early highway development in New Mexico.
The marker conforms to Ozark Trails Association standards established by Harvey, which specified they be constructed of reinforced concrete and of the approximate same height.
Built at a cost of $250 each, Harvey envisioned a string of dozens of markers across the country, but his plans were cut short because the markers were perceived as posing a traffic hazard.
A similar marker in Artesia was torn down after business owners circulated a petition in 1928 to have it removed. Another marker in Carlsbad met a similar fate. The Lake Arthur monument, far from the stream of steady highway traffic, remains largely unchanged, although curbing and gravel recently were added to protect the marker from errant vehicles.
There is no indication of how many Ozark Trails markers were actually constructed, but the remaining structures are well documented. Four survive in Texas at Tulia, Wellington, Tampico and Dimmit, and two in Oklahoma at Stroud and Langston. Each of these markers display some wear, but still function as landmarks of their communities.
Harvey first proposed a permanent marking of the trail at a1918 Ozark Trails convention in Miami, Oklahoma. He envisioned pyramids stretching from Springfield, Missouri to Las Vegas, New Mexico, with a 50-foot-tall obelisk at Romeroville outside Las Vegas, designating the junction of the Ozark and the historic Santa Fe Trail.
The Ozark Trails markers would influence Harvey to design a colossal concrete pyramid at his Monte Ne resort in Arkansas.
Though an idealist, Harvey believed civilization was doomed, and he planned to construct a130-foot tall obelisk with a 40-square-foot base with a time capsule containing items signifying the technological state of the time and writings that supported his opinions of the cause of civilization's failure.
Harvey predicted a cataclysmic event of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that would sink the pyramid, so he planned a plaque for its top instructing future archaeologists to unearth the capsule.
Although the pyramid never was built, and the earth has yet to experience the cataclysms he described, his resort eventually was submerged during the 1960s construction of the White River Dam.
The Ozark Trails, the mother of the Mother Road, played a critical role in developing east-west highways and future U.S. 66. Today evidence of the Ozark Trails is rarelimited to a handful of pre-Route 66 road segments and the seven concrete pyramids.
From its beginning, the Old Spanish Trail Association used the motorcade to promote the Trail. This July 13, the OST 100, a San Antonio group planning events to commemorate the Old Spanish Trails 100th anniversary, hosted a modern-day motorcade down the OST from San Antonio to the Kendall County line. The itinerary included the 1937 Cool Crest, claimed to be the oldest miniature golf course in Texas, and the Headquarters Section of the OST a 32-mile demonstration project of highway beautification. Though much changed, the road still passes buildings and landscapes from the 1920s and 30s.
The official itinerary for an October 1929 motorcade from Florida to California instructed caders how to get publicity, promising that motorcades, when properly staged, produce immediate results...
A second motorcade was scheduled for August 10, with the motorcade itinerary posted on http://www.oldspanishtrailcentennial.com/.
The centennial organization offers a half-hour OST ROADSHOW with video, maps, documents and photo boards, and is willing to offer the motorcade to groups at other times. For more information, contact Charlotte Kahl, Co-Chair OST100, at (210)735-3503.
For more information on the motorcade, contact the OST 100 through http://www.oldspanishtrailcentennial.com
SECOND LONGEST GARAGE SALE IN THE WORLD PLANNED ALONG THE OLD BROADWAY OF AMERICA HIGHWAY
June 9-14 of 2004, shoppers, yard sale participants and shop owners plan to assemble along Highway 70 to participate in the areas first Highway 70 Yard Sale stretching 200 miles from Memphis to Nashville.
County officials in Ocean Springs, MS have declared that the deteriorating pavement on OST between Ocean Springs and Gautier is a danger to motorists.
U.S. Highway 80 through Lordsburg was once a thriving business route through the center of town. Called Motel Avenue as it passed through town, it was the communitys main street and commercial hub.
About 1970, Interstate 10 was constructed through the southern side of Lordsburg, bypassing three miles of Motel Blvd. and stranding it from travelers. Business soon began to decline, leaving many of the older buildings abandoned. The Hidalgo-Boothill Centennial Council is dedicated to preserving what is left of the old main street and promoting a revival of its historic and cultural significance.
Click here for photos and more information: http://www.nmheritage.org/cgi-local/endangered.pl?motel&&PlaceName