Camino del Norte

caminodelnorteDespite its Spanish title, this book is mostly about the I-35 corridor and the Texas cities along this north-south highway: San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Fort Worth and Dallas. (El Camino del Norte should not be confused with the original Camino Real, which ran from San Antonio to the Sabine River border of Louisiana via Nacogdoches.) Camino del Norte did not develop until Anglo times.

First, it was a military road; then, in post-Civil War days, it was the route to the Chisholm Trail. This book is a good introduction to Texas roads in general, showing how they followed buffalo traces that became Indian hunting trails or warpaths, then horse and wagon roads of traders and then led from spring to spring (or waterhole, in arid areas) and ford to ford. Erlichman mentions other settlement factors such as stagecoach lines and railroads. Finally, he takes up the modern Good Roads movement and the share of Texas in the Federal highway system to bring the story up to the present time.  —Richard H. Dillon

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