The Bankhead Highway, often referred to locally as the "Dallas Pike" east of Center Street and the "Fort Worth Pike" west of that road, played an important role in Arlington's future by connecting it to Dallas, Fort Worth, and the rest of the U.S. The Pike, formerly known as the old Dallas-Fort Worth Road, was actually in use as a Wagon Road long before Arlington was platted. The Road, now Abram Street, being the busiest stretch of Highway in Texas, was designated as State Highway 1, by the Texas Highway Department, which was formed in 1917 to create a state highway system.175 Years of Texas Independence * 1836-2011
In 1920, as part of the "Good Roads" project, the Bankhead Highway system, named for John Willis Bankhead, was designed as a portion of the new National Auto Trail system, running from Washington, D.C. to San Diego. The road mostly followed State Highway 1, and would be built along Division Street in Arlington. The chosen safer route was entirely new construction, 25 feet wide and eight inches thick, covering 5.84 miles from the Dallas County line to the west side of Arlington. By design, rail crossings were eliminated including "Death Crossing" west of town. The Highway was declared open to traffic in Nov. 1922.
Over time, the Highway has expanded and some of its early features no longer exist including Johnson Creek Bridge's decorative handrail and a pedestrian underpass at the Masonic Home. In 1926, State Highway 1 was redesigned as U.S. Hwy 80 and again as State Hwy 180 in 1991. The Bankhead Highway opened up business opportunities to many smaller towns along its route, increased commerce between east and west Texas, stimulated automobile transportation, and increased tourism. Overall the Highway was a major factor in transforming Arlington from a small town to a thriving community.
Marker is property of the State of Texas