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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swimming Pool Opens for Summer

If you’re a kid in Roscoe with a little spare time on your hands, life has to be looking up—school’s out and on Saturday the swimming pool opened for the summer.  It’s being run this year by Elementary School Principal Andy Wilson and schoolteacher Patty McBride. 

The pool is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00pm.  Price of admission is $1.50 with season passes available for $50. 

The pool can also be rented for private parties that begin and end between 6:00 and 9:00pm.  The fee is $60 for two hours and $70 for three hours, and that price includes an approved licensed lifeguard.  For additional details, phone 325-766-2352 during open pool hours.



In this modified 1936 county map, the red line indicates the route of the old Bankhead Highway; the blue  one is I-20.  The map will appear in Dan Smith's book on the Bankhead Highway.  (Use of map courtesy of Dan Smith.)  Click image to enlarge.  

Earlier this month, the Roscoe City Council approved the placement of a historical plaque commemorating the Bankhead Highway in Memorial Park, just across the street from the museum.

Most of us are aware that Broadway used to be a part of US Highway 80 back before Interstate 20 was built in 1959, but not everybody knows that before  it was Highway 80, it was known as the Bankhead Highway—an early grand route that stretched from Washington, DC, to San Diego, California. 

Now, a group of enthusiasts is working to preserve the memory of this once famous highway, and it is largely through their efforts that Roscoe will join the project, just as other such cities along the route as Ranger, Eastland, and Cisco have recently done. 

The Bankhead Highway was so named for Alabama Senator John H. Bankhead (1842-1920), an early proponent of national highway development and, as I’ve been told, a distant relative of the Roscoe Bankheads. 

Originally, the highway that ran through Roscoe, then a dirt road, had no name, but that changed in 1917, when the entire route from Texarkana to El Paso was officially designated Texas Highway 1.  Then in 1920, it also became a part of the transcontinental Bankhead Highway, a marked national auto trail. 

In April 1919, when the Bankhead Highway was being organized and the routes being set, a pathfinders’ convention was held in Mineral Wells to determine the best route from Memphis to El Paso. 

After much argument, the group settled on a main route and a couple of alternate routes.  Roscoe was on two of the routes—the main one that went from Texarkana to El Paso and the alternate “scenic” one that went from Texarkana to Roscoe and then up to Snyder, Lubbock, and Carlsbad.

The pathfinders’ convention also made proposals about the required quality of the highway.  Here are a couple that reveal the state of the roads at the time:

        • To so construct and repair all roads and bridges that a uniform speed of twenty miles an hour may be made over the roads and bridges in automobiles without injury or discomfort to the occupants of the machine.

        • To maintain free and safe ferries over such streams that cannot be bridged at present.

The highway’s main route received an additional designation in 1927 when national highways were assigned numbers.  It then became US Highway 80, with the 0 on the end indicating that it went from coast to coast. 

During the time it was the Bankhead, the highway received many improvements that made travel by car much easier.  Locally, the underpass under the railroad track on the “old road” near Avenger Field was built in 1926, the same year the city of Roscoe paved its downtown streets with bricks.  The underpass just west of Loraine was built in 1929.  

Additional paving was done throughout the late 1920s and into the 1930s.  A brochure describing Highway 80 in 1927 said that 798 of its 2671 miles, about 30%, were paved with brick, concrete, or bituminous macadam and over half, 1472 miles, was surfaced with gravel, sand-clay, or topsoil.  It would later become the first highway paved from coast to coast. 

This map showing the Bankhead Highway will be on the plaque placed in Memorial Park.

Its nickname, “The Broadway of America,” was responsible for the renaming of First Street in Roscoe to Broadway—and Second Street in Sweetwater, also to Broadway—because those streets were the route the highway took. 

It was also sometimes known as the Dixie Overland Highway and the Coast-to-Coast Highway and was touted as an important military and “all-weather” auto route across the U. S.  

The Bankhead Highway plaque is not a marker from the Texas Historical Commission but the creation of the Texas Bankhead Highway group headed by Dan Smith of Fort Worth, who came up with the signs and has been instrumental in getting them placed in cities along the route.   

Smith has been researching the highway for years and will soon publish a book on the subject through State House Press in Abilene.  He has also recently given talks in Ranger, Eastland, and Cisco on the highway and its history.



Storm clouds over Roscoe on Monday afternoon. (N.b.: This is a color photo.)

Amidst several hours of thunder, lightning, occasional strong winds, and even hail in some places, the area got some much needed rain on Monday evening.

Amounts varied from no more than a trace north of town to three and a half inches and more south and southwest of Roscoe.  Most of the hail fell around Champion and south of Loraine and varied in size from pea-sized to an inch in diameter.  Areas south and southeast of Sweetwater also got some hail.

In Roscoe, reported amounts of precipitation varied from a half to three-quarters of an inch.   Wastella and areas west of town got about the same.  Cristal Aljoe, just northeast of town, got .8”. 

Roscoe hit triple digits with a 100°F day last Thursday, and yesterday the temperature rose to 97°, but the weekend was milder with highs in the upper eighties and lows in the upper sixties.

Today should be hot with a high around 100°F, but tomorrow and Friday should be milder with highs in the eighties and lows in the sixties.  The weekend will see a return to the mid-nineties with lows in the seventies.  There is no rain in the forecast. 



Holy Mass of Christian Burial for Manuel D. Santiago, 89, was held this morning at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with interment following at Roscoe Cemetery with United States Army Graveside Honors.  Mr. Santiago died Sunday, May 27, at Sweetwater Healthcare Center.

He was born June 5, 1922, in Sweetwater and married Tomasa Herrera on January 1, 1947, in Loraine.  A member of St. Albert’s Catholic Church, he was a groundskeeper at Texas State Technical College until his retirement.  During his life, he also farmed and worked for the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway.  He was a veteran of World War II and a lifelong resident of Nolan County.

Survivors include his wife, Tomasa Santiago, daughter Julia Jimenez and son-in-law Margarito, all of Roscoe; sisters Martina Quintana of Roscoe and Carmen Herrera of Coahoma; daughter-in-law Gloria Santiago of Roscoe; grandsons Junior and Fabian Jimenez of Sweetwater and Christopher Santiago of Roscoe; granddaughters Diana Jimenez of Roscoe, Linda Brooks and Amy Lujan of Sweetwater; 14 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a son, Robert Santiago; brothers Ralph, Vicente, and Raymond Santiago, and sister Cecilia Quintana.


1 comment:

  1. In the swimming pool, you might see various debris after having the party. This dirt can cause irritation in eyes when you do swimming. The bacteria causing the disease is controlled with the provision of chlorine, that regular water changes will improve the quality of a healthy pool water.


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