2004, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison succeeded in persuading Congress to designate
El Camino Real, at least the Texas and Louisiana portions, a national historic
corridor. We Texans, especially we East Texans, knew it all along.|
Camino Real, or King's Highway, or Royal Road, designates an
official thoroughfare, much as we would refer to I-20 or US 59 today. It began
in 1690 when Alonzo DeLeon crossed Texas on a northeastern
course previously untroubled by Europeans to establish Mission
San Francisco de las Tejas near the Neches
River so France would understand that the territory belonged to Spain.
1691, Domingo Teran de los Rios used much the same route to bring supplies to
the mission, which was abandoned in 1693. In 1714 the French began to threaten
Spanish interests in East Texas, so
Spaniard missionaries and presidio soldiers used the route to establish
and sustain six missions until 1773. El Camino Real, by then also known
as Old San Antonio Road, if still just a trail, could be called "established."
Actually, Old San Antonio Road had many routes that came together at San
Antonio and Nacogdoches,
the only two population clusters along the 540-mile trace. Sometimes routes varied
because of flooding or dangers from Indians, but they all focused on these settlements.
thrust had been northeastward, but by the 1820s Anglo immigrants had reversed
the predominant direction of the flow as they passed through Nacogdoches
to new settlements further west.
In 1915, our legislature wanted to honor
the Old San Antonio Road, so they appropriated $5,000 so V.N. Zivley could conduct
a survey and tell them its exact route. The Daughters of the American Revolution
provided funds to erect pink granite markers, according to Zivley's designation.
for the Camino Real (King's Highway) that passes through Milam.|
Photo courtesy Terry
Jeanson, December, 2007
8 feet tall El
Camino Real Centennial Monument|
"The marker is on SH 21 (OSR) just
west of SH 39 in Normangee.
It is on the south side of the road." - Photo courtey Kathy Toalson Staples,
Click on image to enlarge
| In 1989, a subsequent
legislature created the Old San Antonio Road Commission to commemorate the 300th
anniversary of the founding of the road, and for some reason Governor William
P. Clements asked me to serve on it. I can immodestly say that Senator Hutchison
completed, as only she could do, that for which we worked a decade and half ago.|
And this: that blamed Commission just laughed at me when I moved that we change
the road's name to the Old Nacogdoches Road because San
Antonio was only a stop over on the way to Nacogdoches.
© Archie P. McDonald
July 30, 2006 column
A syndicated column in over 70 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more
than 20 books on Texas.
Day Trips" by Bob Bowman:
"If you're into
road trips, take a drive down East Texas'
oldest highway. The King's Highway (Texas 21) stretches from Toledo
Bend Reservoir near Milam
to San Antonio. It is also one
of our most scenic roadways. The route was used by Indians and traveled by Spanish
missionaries in 1791. It is also known as El
Camino Real, the Old Spanish Trail, and the Old San Antonio Road."