The Meridian Highway - Decatur, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member WalksfarTX
N 33° 13.720 W 097° 34.729
14S E 632422 N 3677537
Large plaque with pictures stands next to the Texas Tourist Camp explaining the significance of this location.
Waymark Code: WM116KW
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 08/25/2019
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 3

In the year 1911 the widespread use of the automobile was still in its infancy. During that year, it was decided that a major north-south highway that stretched from the southernmost region of Texas to the Canadian border be constructed and would be known as the “Meridian Highway”. This name was chosen because the proposed route roughly traced the Sixth Principal Meridian as shown on world maps. In Texas, some portions of the Meridian Highway coincided with the existing Texas State Highway 2 (SH2). It was correctly believed that this vital corridor would e beneficial for commerce and tourism. The Meridian Highway passed in front of the Petrified Wood Station where you are now standing.

In this region of Texas, the route for the Meridian Highway was the same as the “Old Chisholm Trail”. Following the Civil War, there was a great demand for Texas beef cattle in the population centers in the east. A head of cattle in Texas was worth about two dollars, but on the east coast a head of cattle could fetch twenty dollars or more. This presented a highly profitable opportunity for enterprising individuals. The challenge was to herd the cattle north from Texas to the railroad terminals in Kansas, where they could be transported to the east. The major route, the Chisholm Trail, used by these cattle drives passed near this location. From 1865 until 1890, it is estimated that between 6 million and 10 million head of cattle were herded out of Texas in the largest known forced migration of animals, thus, the legend of the American cowboy was born.

Many businesses catering to travelers on the Meridian Highway, such as the Petrified Wood Station (Texas Tourist Camp Complex), were established. During the 1920’s, the Federal Government allocated funding to expand the highway network in America. A new numbering system was implemented, and the Meridian Highway was renamed as “U.S. Highway 81”. In the 1950’s, a highway bypass was constructed around the city of Decatur. This occurred in cities along major highways, and many businesses that were negatively impacted were forced to shut down.

Eventually, an interstate highway system evolved and what was once the Meridian Highway was relocated and is now known as “Interstate Highway 35”. This interstate highway now runs through Denton, Texas (approximately 30 miles east of this location).

Group that erected the marker: U.S. Dept of Transportation Federal Hwy Administration

URL of a web site with more information about the history mentioned on the sign: [Web Link]

Address of where the marker is located. Approximate if necessary:
904 Hwy 81/287
Decatur, TX USA

Visit Instructions:
Take a picture of the marker, preferably including yourself or your GPSr in the photo. A very detailed description of your visit may be substituted for a photo. In any case please provide a description of your visit. A description of only "Visited" or "Saw it while on vacation" by anyone other than the person creating the waymark may be deleted by the waymark owner or the category officers.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Signs of History
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
There are no logs for this waymark yet.