The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 140
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
national levels are limited in scope, in part to match the focus of the book, there
is more than enough background to carry the reader beyond the roads of Comal
County. As a result, the unique story told amid early perspectives gives it a wider
audience and relevance within Texas cultural history than might be evident
from the title.
Hill Country Backroads is essentially the story of one man, Joe Sanders, an Ohio
farm boy transplanted to the Hill Country of Comal County in 1916. In New
Braunfels, he secured work at the Dittlinger Mill and led what, by most stan-
dards of the day, was an ordinary life. What made him different from others,
though, was his fascination with the automobile. His interest was more than
curiosity about the mechanical aspects, although he certainly had that; what
made his story different was his vision of where the automobile could take him
and others, especially in his adopted region. And Comal County was vital to the
character of that region, which included such scenic marvels as waterfalls, low-
water crossings by swift river rapids, remote caverns, a natural stone bridge, sky-
line drives and riverside passes, Indian campgrounds, and potential picnic
grounds with vistas of open valleys.
Sanders was a tireless advocate for tourism, but his contributions were more
basic than the marketing plans, focus groups, networking, and colorful promo-
tional pieces that are the fundamentals of such efforts today. Instead, beginning
in an era of cattle guards, bump gates, and unpaved rural roads, he personally
drove the back roads of his county, measuring distances, detailing maps, and vis-
iting with ranchers and other landowners to open up areas to tourists. He also
painted, placed, and repaired wooden road signs and recruited others, most
notably his American Legion post and his wife, Laurie, to help. Additionally, he
produced some of the earliest scenic byway maps in the state. Along the way, he
and Laurie photographed many of the sites, and the family photo collection that
survives provides important early glimpses of unspoiled natural wonders in
Comal County and the surrounding area.
Hill Country Backroads is an enjoyable book about a remarkable individual, with
sufficient local flavor and history for anyone who remembers fondly their own
Hill Country excursions. Those who have traveled the state extensively know well
the lure of the hills, something Joe and Laurie Sanders understood at a time
when the automobile and paved roads were only novelties.
Pflugerville DAN K. UTLEY
The Hzstory of Medicine zn Brazos County. By Frank G. Anderson Jr. and Edith A.
Wakefield. (Bryan: Frank G. Anderson Jr., 2001. Pp. 179. Acknowledgments,
introduction, conclusion, appendix. $22.oo, cloth.)
This book is a remarkable "labor of love" that deserves attention by those
interested in the development of medicine in Texas and the rest of the United
States. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Frank G. Anderson Jr. received a
medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in
1954. After further training at the Mayo Clinic, Anderson practiced ophthalmol-
ogy in College Station between 1964 and 1993. Also an Aggie and a research
assistant for Frank Vandiver (former A&M president), Edith Anderson
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/168/: accessed March 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.