A Proposed Trinity River Boulevard Connecting Dallas and Fort Worth — 1924

by Paula Bosse

trinity-river-scenic-drive_dmn-110224The mayor’s plan for a scenic highway… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1924, Dallas Mayor Louis Blaylock proposed a new route between Dallas and Fort Worth which would closely follow the course of the Trinity River. Not only would this new road relieve congestion of the highway already in heavy use by trucks, business vehicles, and “speeding jitneys,” but it would also provide a more sedate and scenic thoroughfare, intended for use by the citizens of Dallas, Fort Worth, and the mid-cities who enjoyed taking their “pleasure vehicles” out for a stress-free Sunday drive.

The following text and the above chart appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Nov. 2, 1924:

Sketch of Proposed Blaylock’s Trinity River Scenic Drive

Mayor Louis Blaylock’s proposed scenic highway between Dallas and Fort Worth would follow the course of the West Fork of the Trinity River between the two cities. The above sketch was made in the office of E. A. Kingsley, city engineer of Dallas.

Last week the Dallas Mayor advanced the suggestion that the “necessary new road to Fort Worth” be planned along these lines. Both Mayor Blaylock and Mayor Willard Burton of Fort Worth have offered $5,000 each toward the new enterprise if nine other citizens in both places donate like sums.

Mayor Blaylock said Saturday that such a project would be impracticable without adequate flood control, and when the matter reaches the conference stage around Jan. 1 a system of locks, dams and levees will be discussed. A boat canal between Dallas and Fort Worth and an irrigation system for the intermediate farming country are among the possibilities, said Mayor Blaylock.

A few days earlier, a sarcastic editorial about the plan (in which the Dallas mayor’s name was misspelled throughout) appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (click for larger image):

trinity-highway_FWST_102924FWST, Oct. 29, 1924

Even though Dallas and Fort Worth had long engaged in a (mostly) friendly rivalry, it was Fort Worth’s mayor, Willard Burton, who, rather surprisingly, stepped up to offer financial support for the Dallas mayor’s plan. Saying that it was unfair to further burden the taxpayers, he chipped in $5,000 toward the funding of the new road and suggested that he could persuade nine other civic-minded Fort Worthians to do the same. Blaylock may have been forced by mayoral peer pressure to dig deep and follow suit, but he also pledged $5,000 and said he’d get nine flush Dallasites to fork over five thou, too.

trinity-highway_dmn_103124DMN, Oct. 31, 1924

I’m not sure how either thought a 60-mile road could be built between Dallas and Fort Worth for only $100,000 (slightly less than 1.5 million dollars in today’s money). As it turned out, it couldn’t. An engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Roads estimated it would cost closer to $2,000,000 (about 27.5 million dollars in today’s money — a veritable BARGAIN!).

trinity-highway_dmn_110124-costDMN, Nov. 1, 1924

In less than a week of giddy conversations about the Trinity River fantasy boulevard, the plan was pretty much dead when everyone accepted the fact that it was not economically feasible.

trinity-highway_dmn_110424DMN, Nov. 4, 1924

There must have been many sad souls in Dallas in the fall of 1924. But some still insisted it could be built and should be built. Prominent Fort Worth resident J. N. Brooker wrote an impassioned letter to the Star-Telegram, with a few helpful suggestions:

scenic-drive_FWST_112124FWST, Nov. 21, 1924

A toll road that charges “moonshine whiskey prices” — there you go!


Sources & Notes

Top image from The Dallas Morning News, Nov. 2, 1924 (apologies for the poor resolution!).

More on Mayor Louis Blaylock (1849-1932) from The Handbook of Texas, here.

Lastly, a couple of amusing snide remarks from the pages of Amon Carter’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

scenic-drive_FWST_110324FWST, Nov. 3, 1924

scenic-drive_FWST_111124FWST, Nov. 11, 1924

Most images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.