Presentation on theme: " Transportation—the need to move goods and people--has always been a key driver of economic growth Highways and canals were important in the early."— Presentation transcript:
Transportation—the need to move goods and people--has always been a key driver of economic growth Highways and canals were important in the early 1800’s In the U.S., railroads replaced canals as a primary mode of transportation in the early 1800’s
First railroad – Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Started in 1852 Reached 55 miles by 1855 Promotion of railroad by Texas govt. First lines were built close to ports State gave bounties of land to encourage railroad building – 32,1550,000 acres
Need for a Better System of Transportation in Texas for economic development: There were few good roads in Texas at the time of annexation. This continued to be a problem for a long time. Most of the roads were in the south along the coast and in East Texas. Roads were not useable at all during heavy rains. To haul people or products over these roads was expensive and took a great deal of time. Rivers in Texas were not deep enough for large boats to travel inland.
Products could be shipped out of Texas to market faster and more easily. Products could be shipped into Texas faster and more easily People could travel from one place to another faster and more inexpensively. Many immigrants could travel to Texas and settle more open territory to the west. Railroads encouraged large numbers of settlers to move to Texas.
Railroads improved the cattle industry in West Texas. Cattle could be shipped to market without long cattle drives. Fewer cowboys were needed as a result of the cattle being shipped by railroads. Growth of railroads allowed more people to move into larger cities contributing to the urbanization of Texas. Economic activities changed as a result of the coming of the railroad. By 1891, Texas had several railroads including the Southern Pacific, Texas and Pacific, Colorado and Santa Fe, and Great Northern.
Some towns died when the railroad bypassed them. (See reading of Mrs. George Fowler) Old Springfield died as settlers fled to Grosbeck or Mexia because of the railroad. Some towns grew because the railroad went through them. Amarillo is the largest city in Texas that owes it location solely to the railroad.
After 1920, the car and the highway became important. Trucks hauled cargo. Airlines took cargo and passengers from the railroads. 1931 was the peak of railroad activity—the amount of freight hauled declined from then on. 1992 – 11,285 miles of Texas track were actively used, a decrease of 33% since 1931. Chemicals accounted for 30% of railroad tonnage originating in Texas.
In the 1920’s, automobiles became commonly owned by families, and there was a clamor for better roads. One of those roads has a heritage peculiar to the Panhandle of Texas – Route 66.
Construction began in 1926 on the 2,344 mile route. At that time, only 800 miles was paved. Across the Panhandle, the only pavement was from Washburn, east of Amarillo, to what is now the western city limits of Amarillo The goal was to link “the main streets of America.”
The Jericho Gap, an 18 mile stretch of Route 66 between Groom and Alanreed, was one of the most treacherous stretches of Route 66, and was the last to be paved. It was notorious for bogging cars down in the mud after rainstorms. Local farmers and ranchers made supplemental income by pulling stranded motorists out of the mud for a fee. The mud from the rich black soil was a gooey mud the locals called “black gumbo.” The Dustbowl and the Great Depression slowed the paving, but in 1938, the Jericho Gap, the last stretch of unpaved Route 66, was finally paved.
These iconic pictures reflect the struggles of the families who left the Dust Bowl behind, heading west to find new hope in California.
In his 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, and the movie made in 1940, John Steinbeck immortalized Route 66. “ And then the dispossessed were drawn west... car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand....The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
Economic consequences of Route 66: The trucking industry began to rival the railroad for preeminence in the American shipping industry. Route 66 symbolized the “road to opportunity” for those leaving the Dust Bowl for California. The all-weather capability of the road on the eve of WWII became significant to the greatest wartime manpower mobilization in the history of the nation. A new tourism industry arose along the road, including filling stations, restaurants, and a new creation, the “motor hotel” or motel.
In the 1950’s, President Eisenhower started the Interstate Highway system. Whereas the purpose of Route 66 was to “connect the main streets of America,” the Interstate Highway system bypassed them.