Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990 Page: 19
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you will best
any age or
Left: Rockwall County, single track highway.
Top: California-bound, Potter County, around 1930.
Above: Highway workers.
metropolitan pattern, for small town
Texas, for one's life style?
Those reluctant to exercise imagination
on the impact of this new transportation
revolution should reflect on the
once ridiculed words of H.G. Wells who,
following the arrival of the automobile, in
1902 remarked: "These coming cities will
not be, in the old sense, cities at all; but
they will present a new and entirely
different phase of human distribution."
Even the expansive imagination of Mr
Wells would have had difficulty envisioning
present-day Los Angeles, Houston,
or Dallas-Fort Worth.
Will there be a time when a new
transportation mode will once again make
roads empty and deserted?
Is it preposterous to envision the
absence of traffic on the endless miles of
roadways presently existing?
Such a suggestion is not that absurd
since it has a historical antecedent in the
annals of the railroad in the early nineteenth
With the appearance of the railroad,
road building, or even repair was seen as an
unwarranted and unnecessary cost; the
dominance of the road as a conveyor of
people and goods was considered over. The
road's purpose and reason for existing had
been violated by a new invention, rail,
which was also called a road. Once-busy
roads became obsolete and void of traffic.
The historical evolution of the roads of
Texas-from wilderness roads, to trails, to
the present interstate system-continues.
Christopher S. Davies is an associate professor at
the University of Texas at Austin, Department of
HERITAGE * FALL 1990 19
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990, periodical, Autumn 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45429/m1/19/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.