is the story of a historical marker without much of a history.
Twenty-five years ago, the Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. of Texas embarked
on a mission to dedicate a series of Blue Star Memorial Highways as
a means of honoring the services of men and women who served in the
U.S. armed forces during World
At the request of garden clubs throughout the state, the Texas Highway
Department in 1976 designated eight highway sections as Blue Star
Memorial routes. Large metal markers bearing the Blue Star symbol
were placed along the roadsides of each segment.
The program was actually a national campaign inaugurated by the National
Council of State Garden Clubs and may have been started in Texas as
early as 1947 because one highway was designated by state officials
then and modified in 1953. Another was set aside in 1975.
|Blue Star Memorial
Highway Marker on Highway 90 in Hondo
over the span of five decades, the story behind these historical markers
has been lost in the mists of history.
Our interest in the Blue Star Memorial Highways was aroused when a
friend called with a request for information about "the Blue
Star marker on U.S. 59 near the Highway Department" in Lufkin.
She said she had checked a number of local historical sources, but
found little information.
For a while, we also ran into a brick wall. Our old reliable resource,
the Handbook of Texas and its online companion, made no mention of
the designations. Calls to libraries and a couple of
East Texas historians produced little or no information. Then,
we did what we should have done in the first place. We called Cathy
White, the community relations representative of the Lufkin office
of the Texas Department of Transportation.
In a few days, Cathy solved at least a portion of the mystery.
|Blue Star Memorial
Highway Marker in Columbus
May 4, 1976, the Texas Department of Highways approved a minute
order in Austin
granting the Texas Garden Clubsą request to designate the memorial
highways and agreed to erect Blue Star markers provided by the garden
U.S. 59 from
Houston to Texarkana
Between 1976 and 1988 the state approved orders designating eight
stretches of roadway as Blue Star routes. They are:
FM 3188 from
State 94 to its end at Camp Olympia in Trinity County (1983)
U.S. 271 from
Paris to Gladewater
U.S. 287 from
the Anderson-Houston county line to the Johnson-Ellis county line
U.S. 385 from
Big Bend National Park north to the Oklahoma state line north of
State 155 from
U.S. 77 from
the Oklahoma state line at Gainesville
then via other highways the New Mexico state line (1947 and 1953).
SS 496 at
from its junction with U.S. 287 southeasterly via Saginaw, Fort
Worth and Kennedale
to its junction with U.S. 287 in Mansfield
Some portions of the history of the Blue Star Memorial Highways
Where did the
name Blue Star originate?
How, when and
where did the designation program begin?
How many markers
were erected in Texas and the U.S.?
How many highways
were marked in the U.S.
If you can help us better define the history of these old historical
markers, let us know.
All Things Historical
Bowman's East Texas
column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Blue Star Memorial Highway
I'm a member of the Nassau Bay, Texas, Garden Club, as well as Blue
Star Memorial Highway chairman for District IV, Texas Garden Clubs
Inc. No doubt much of the info you have been given regarding the
Blue Star project is correct, but the info from TXDoT is off on
Our club dedicated NASA Road One as a Blue Star Memorial Highway
in 1971. It included the official marker, the one that is still
used today. While I may not have as much history on Texas' Blue
Star, I do have an overall history covering the national, as well
as a list of the 52 Texas highways that have been dedicated.
On March 1, 2003 our club "rededicated" its marker due to the fact
that TXDoT somehow moved our marker from its original location without
notifying anyone. When I moved to Nassau Bay in 1991 and joined
the garden club, someone mentioned that our club had installed the
marker and planted oleanders down NASA Road 1. When I asked about
the marker, no one knew where it was. So, we began a search and
located it in another town where TXDoT had put it next to a historical
marker. We got permission to remove it and put it in Nassau Bay
(it first had been on the Johnson Space Center [NASA] side of the
... One of our members found a veteran who still had his family's
Blue Star Service Flag from WWII.
... This service flag is where the Blue Star comes from in the marker,
hence the name for the highway project, which was/is a living memorial
to our veterans and those currently serving. ...
I also have a list of the dedicated Texas highways ... Unfortunately,
I'm told, some of the markers have been stolen, shot up, one was
burned, etc. -- think there were 9 with problems. - Kathryn Gehbauer,
March 14, 2003
Check out this
It has the background on the council that started it all and the
history. - D. Dill, January 16, 2004
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