“Do you want these?” My sister, Peggy, had walked into
our partnership office with three Walmart bags under each arm. Each bag contained
a year of Texas Highway Magazines. She was clearing out her closet and decided
not to keep them any longer. Rather than just toss them out, she asked me if I
For the past several years three of my sisters and I had taken
road trips around Texas. Peggy did all the planning while I did the driving. Ann
and Betty Jean tagged along not caring particularly where we went but just enjoying
our time together. Peggy used the magazines as a resource of places to visit.
On different trips we went to the usual tourist spots like Sea World, The Big
Bend, Galveston, Port Aransas and Jefferson. It was in Jefferson that I first
began to really appreciate the uniqueness of Texas, but it was no big deal to
me at the time.
Peggy had decided she didn’t need to keep the magazines
any more, and not using better judgment, I said that we could just put them in
our office attic. About that time, I began reading James Michener’s novel, “Texas”,
so it was natural that in a few months I began to drag out a few copies of the
old magazines to see if I could find anything familiar that I might have read
about in the book.
That’s how it all started. Now, ten years later I have
driven over 120,000 miles in Texas and taken over 70,000 pictures of everything
from old country churches to courthouses and jails to bridges and signs, and finally
of nearly all of the Texas Centennial markers that were placed all around the
state back in 1936. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
One can only wonder
what I would be doing right now if my sister had just tossed those magazines without
asking me about them. I’d probably be working on a stamp collection or such but
not having nearly as much fun.
© Barclay Gibson, April
Mr. Gibson has driven all over Texas many times in search
of the 1936 Texas Centennial Markers. Here are a few of his stories:
Want to See Your Machete"
was a momentous occasion for me... I was finally going to meet Ruthie Cade. Literally
minutes before, I had been able to find, after a previous failed attempt, the
gray granite Centennial Marker placed at the grave of Perry Alsbury in a hidden,
overgrown area within earshot of I-10. That marker was the 1,089th marker I have
seen of the 1,136 placed way back in 1936 to memorialize the multi-year celebration
of Texas' Independence from Mexico. Here I was, after having seen nearly 96% of
that total, meeting the one person who made a lot of that search possible.
for the Pulaski Historical Marker 9-6-10|
to start describing how I visited the five foot tall granite 1936 Panola County
Centennial Historical Marker for the defunct town site of Pulaski, former seat
of Panola County?
| || Special
Bridges / Three States
Canyon Bridge Winslow Arizona, Querino Canyon Bridge on Old Route 66 Houck Arizona,
Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay Redding California, and Yaquina Bay Bridge Newport
"I love everything about what you do-from the concept
to the execution. I will be trying to keep up with your work. I'm anxious to see
what you do next." - Dianna, Sept. 11, 2013
"You have some wonderful
marker photos. There is so much information. I even learned some things about
my home town of Taylor. Before taking my grandchildren on a family history tour,
I found the picture on the internet of the Jackson County Texana
marker you photographed. We descend from both F.F. Wells and his son-in-law Clark
Owen. I also descend from the Brackenridges of Jackson County, so we wanted to
see the marker. It had been temporally moved to lie under a tree at the administration
building, something of a let down." - Genie, Sugar Grove, Illinois, August
"Thank you for sharing your photos taken at Cedar
Hill, Floyd County, Texas. I grew up there and although there is mostly nothing
left there, your photos were fantastic shots of familiar landmarks. Thank you!
I am thoroughly enjoying looking at even more of your photos of familiar places.
Thanks so much for all your efforts." - Stephanie, July, 2013
"I came across your photos during a search on Roaring
Springs Cemetery. My dad is buried there
and I have not been there. I plan on going in the near future but
in the meantime these photos are precious to me. They give me a sense
of connection to my dad and thus means so much to me. Thank you so
much!" - Mona, May 2013