A Road Through Time

The beginnings of I-10/Chris Daigle

By Chris Daigle

It’s hard to imagine as you whiz past Houston on Interstate 10, that its great grandfather is a patch of asphalt 20 feet wide, meandering through the Houston tree line, with a silent history going back to the beginning of the 20th century.

It starts at the driveway to Motorcars Limited, a garage for Land Rovers and Jaguars for the rich, and ends right where Washington Avenue changes to Hempstead Highway and all points northwest to Austin. If this stretch of road could talk, it would tell you it was a significant piece of American road travel.

In the early 20th century, as the automobile gained in popularity, a system of roads began to develop informally through the efforts of private interests. These were known as auto trails. They existed without the support of the federal government. The first of these auto trails was the Lincoln Highway, announced in 1912.

With the need for new roads being so significant, dozens of new auto trails began construction in that decade. One such roadway was the Jefferson Davis Highway, sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC planned for this highway to start in Arlington, Virginia, and travel through the southern states until it stopped in San Diego, California. It was to use existing roadways and would extend north to the Canadaian/U.S. border. This highway was named for Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate states, a senator, and Secretary of War. Because of unintended conflict between the National Auto Trail movement and the federal government, it is unclear whether the road reached its final form.

By the mid-1920s, the system of auto trails had grown cumbersome. The federal government had imposed a number system on the nation’s highways, using even numbers for east-west routes and odd numbers for north-south routes. Sections of each trail were assigned different numbers.

The full Jefferson Davis Highway is not shown on maps, but it went through 10 states. The section that went through Texas traversed the Sabine River to El Paso, roughly the route the current Interstate 10 follows currently. It was routed through Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Alpine, and Van Horn. At least 18 markers still exist across the state. Although there is a stone marker on Washington Avenue, the Texas Department of Transportation did not assign the name “Jefferson Davis Highway” to any state highway.

The stone marker on Washington Avenue in Houston/Chris Daigle

The cause of the demise of the Jefferson Davis Highway may have been the United Daughters of the Confederacy themselves. In addition to the transcontinental route, they also set up another route running through Kentucky to Mississippi. This led to confusion about where the highway actually traveled to. Maps show several Jefferson Davis Highways, and the route was absorbed into the federal government’s numbered highway system. It was numbered U.S. 90 through Houston, which is visible on some maps.

In 1956, President Eisenhower created the Federal Highway Act, establishing hundreds of new roads nationwide. The name of Houston’s stretch of asphalt west of town was named Katy Road, likely named for the Katy railroad that ran next to it all the way to its namesake and beyond. A sleek new two-lane beauty was installed next to her in the late 1950s, and when the massive Interstate 10 passed through Houston from 1966 to 1968, our hero to the west was suddenly put in the back seat and renamed Old Katy Road.

It’s easy to imagine this stretch of asphalt hosting rusty farm trucks bringing produce from Brookshire or crops from the rice fields to Houston for the City Market, the scenery dotted with filling stations and general stores all the way into town instead of movie theatres, Wal-Marts, and stations selling $4.00+ gasoline.

For a while, the quiet overgrown quarter-mile path took us on a road trip – a road trip into history.

Older Americans Month Information & Health Fair Sponsored by DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will host the Older Americans Month Information & Health Fair on Thursday, May 26, at Centennial Hall in historic Fair Park, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The annual event is one of the largest held in North Texas.

Seniors are encouraged to save on parking and ride DART’s Green Line directly to Fair Park Station. The free event showcases businesses and public services of special interest to older adults, caregivers, and families, as well as provides health screenings and giveaways. The event will feature live entertainment from the Dallas Tap Dazzlers, Ms. Senior America, Skyline Jazz Band, and more.

In May, the U.S. Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living, leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month, which celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

This year’s theme, Age My Way, will focus on aging in place – how older adults can plan to stay in their homes and live independently in their communities for as long as possible. It’s also an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities.

Community partners supporting the fair this year include the City of Dallas, Dallas Parks & Recreation, Dallas Police Department, Dallas Area Agency on Aging, Community Council, Fair Park First, and The Senior Source.

For more information, please visit DART.org/seniors or call 214-749-2721. For more information on riding DART to the Older Americans Month Information & Health Fair, call DART Customer Service at 214-979-1111.

From Grapevine to Ukraine: Five Glimpses into War Relief Efforts

Donations are taken by hand from Grapevine to Ukraine/Nataliya Krasovska-Cabe

Most people are aware of the war that is ongoing between Russia and Ukraine. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. According to the United Nations, this war has killed almost 3,000 civilians, and over 7 million people have lost their homes. Another 5 million Ukrainian citizens have had to seek refuge in neighboring countries, most popularly Poland, which is part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Refugees can seek help in any NATO country, and Poland is the closest.

Locally, several individuals, groups, and organizations that are actively participating in the relief effort for Ukraine will have tables at the 38th Annual Main Street Festival that will be held on May 20 – 22.

Read more from NewsBreak…

DART Welcomes Bernard Jackson as Chief Operations Officer

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) announced today that Bernard Jackson has been selected as the agency’s new chief operations officer. Jackson will assume his new role on May 23, 2022.

Reporting directly to DART president & chief executive officer Nadine Lee, Jackson will lead the agency’s operations teams, including bus, light rail, facilities maintenance, GoLink, and mobility management.

“Bernard is a tremendous transit leader and we are excited to welcome him to DART,” said Lee. “He brings over 30 years of transit operations experience to the agency, consistently developing and achieving employee engagement and customer satisfaction performance targets that have a real impact on the lives of our riders. I have incredible confidence in his ability to align industry-leading operational practices with DART’s vision to improve rider experiences.”

Jackson joins DART from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) where he served as the chief operations officer, service delivery. Prior to his time at Metro, he worked at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for nearly 30 years, including as the vice president of bus operations and the director of rail operations. During his tenure at CTA, Jackson was instrumental in establishing customer-focused performance measures to improve transit operations for the benefit of riders.

“I’m proud to join the DART team at a time when leadership is focused on building a world-class rider experience,” said Jackson. “The new direction and strategy that DART has embarked on, a focus on the needs and satisfaction of our riders, has never been more crucial to the long-term sustainability of the North Texas region. I am incredibly excited to be a part of this new course, and I look forward to helping steer the agency to its next phase of operational and mobility excellence.”

“We are thrilled to welcome someone of Bernard’s caliber to the team at DART,” said Michele Wong Krause, chair of the DART Board of Directors. “The knowledge he brings to the agency will allow us to continue to enhance and expand the operations of DART for the benefit of our passengers across North Texas.”

Along with an extensive list of distinctions including involvement in the Eno Transit Senior Executive Program, Jackson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Loyola University in Chicago.

The Life of Friday the 13th: It’s Longer Than You Think

Welcome to the only Friday the 13th in 2022! For those of you who are not superstitious, it’s probably no big deal. In fact, you probably forgot about it. But for folks who are superstitious, like the darker side of life, or find themselves saying, “Murphy’s Law” a lot, today may be extra dreadful, a celebration, or at least a great day to play morbid (yet harmless, please) pranks on friends and family. It’s also a popular day for haunted houses around the nation.

But why?

Read more from NewsBreak…

Ukraine Relief Charity Welcomes Support at Grapevine Main Street Festival

Palm of Hope is a small group of volunteers united by one original goal – supporting kids with life-threatening or incurable diseases in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. They raise funds to assist children with essential nutrition supplies and critical medical equipment. They are joined by the Ukrainian Cultural Club of Dallas (UCCD) and several churches in this time of extra need.

In this time of incredible hardship, the families they support need more help than ever before. Due to constantly changing circumstances because of the Russia/Ukraine War, they have had to re-focus on how they provide aid. Families are fleeing their homes, which means they need portable equipment. They need to buy power generators, as power outages are becoming increasingly common. In the past, local hospitals and organizations were able to partially cover the families’ needs. Now, their support is uncertain.

Palm of Hope, UCCD, and other volunteers are working around the clock to help their families, but they need some extra help to keep as many families as possible safe.

The 38th Annual Main Street Festival in Grapevine is a popular event featuring entertainment,
craft brew and wine, merchandise, and tennis and pickleball tournaments. This year, the Festival is being held from May 20 to May 22.

Palm of Hope is happy to join with representatives from the Ukrainian Cultural Club of Dallas
and other organizations participating in the Festival, with the mission of gathering monetary
donations (tax receipts available), as well as material donations such as medical equipment
(oxygen systems, bandages, Neosporin, antibiotics, and basically any equipment that a hospital
or clinic can spare), diapers, Pull-Ups, toiletry items for parents, non-perishable food items, and more.

If you have a heart for Ukraine, please stop by their booth with anything you can spare. Palm of
Hope is basically run by 3-4 women across the nation who take packages either directly to
Ukraine themselves or use trusted sources to do so. 100% of anything donated will go to
Ukraine relief.

For more information, visit https://www.palmofhope.org/ or https://ukrainianclub.org/.

(L-R): Liliana Nedzelska (Art Teacher/Artist), Tanya Czyz, Iryna Shevchuk (UCCD), Elena Mackoway (Palm of Hope)

Add a Cutting Edge to Your Friday the 13th

Cutting Edge Haunted House, a Fort Worth, Texas Haunted Attraction, is a real haunted house. Cutting Edge is a dark attraction filled with terrifying live actors, amazing special effects, and incredible monsters. Cutting Edge Haunted House is an intense, multi-story, multi-themed haunted attraction that is widely considered to be one of the best Haunted Houses in the nation, full of chilling detail and unbelievable scares!

Located in a 100-year-old abandoned meat packing plant in a section of Fort Worth historically dubbed as “Hell’s Half Acre,” the Cutting Edge Haunted House is built upon a foundation of fear. The meatpacking equipment from the Old West is still in use, but now it is a two-story human processing area. Realistic-looking human mannequins are hoisted up to the second level and brought through the entire meat packing process until the conveyor system brings the butchered corpses back to the first level. The old meat-packing plant in downtown Fort Worth is a great home for the fantastic special effects that our loyal customers have come to expect.

It takes visitors an average of 55 minutes to explore Cutting Edge Haunted House. This walk-through haunted house is frighteningly realistic.

Cutting Edge Haunted House has established a reputation for being one of the best-haunted houses in the country. Cutting Edge Haunted House, a Guinness World Record holder, is one of America’s best and largest haunted houses. Come see what new horrors lurk in the twisting corridors of Fort Worth’s ultimate haunted house.

For more information and tickets, click HERE.

DART’s Annual Bike to Work Day Event May 20

On Friday, May 20, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) invites North Texans to pedal to work as part of the Dallas area’s 2022 Bike to Work Day annual event.

Launched in 2001, Bike to Work Day is a national event to encourage people to try bicycle commuting as a healthy and safe alternative to driving. DART buses and trains have features that make it simple to combine riding your bike with riding transit. On the front of DART buses, you’ll find easy-to-use storage racks, while on the rail you can just roll your bike onto the train. At rail stations and transit centers, DART offers bike racks as well as bike lids. Both are free of charge and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

DART Bike to Work Challenge

In celebration of Bike to Work Day, DART is inviting riders across North Texas to participate in the 2022 Bike to Work Challenge and enter for a chance to win one of three custom DART bikes. Contest rules are available here.

Here’s how to participate in the 2022 DART Bike to Work Challenge:

  • Take a picture of yourself using your bike in tandem with DART to get to work.
  • Submit it to us via social media with the hashtag #BiketoWork2022 between April 25 and May 13.

Three winners will be randomly selected on May 16 to receive a custom DART Bike at the annual Bike to Work Day Event on Friday, May 20, from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Free bike safety checks, refreshments, and more will also be available at the following locations:

For more information about DART Bike to Work Day, visit DART.org/bikes.

Grapevine Detective Named Mental Health Peace Officer of the Year

The State of Texas Crisis Intervention Team Association (Texas CIT) named Grapevine Police Detective Christina O’Rear the 2022 Mental Health Peace Officer of the Year. The award was announced during the association’s annual convention in South Padre Island on Friday, April 29, 2022. 

(left to right): Captain Marc Shimmick, Detective Christina O’Rear, Media Manager Amanda McNew, Assistant Chief Tim Hall

Detective Christina O’Rear is the primary liaison between the Grapevine Police Department and MHMR resources and hospitals in north Texas. In recent years, she recognized a need to stay in contact with individuals and families dealing with mental crises after police cases were done, and initiated audits of her department’s police reports to ensure any MHMR-related calls were coded with MHMR. Detective O’Rear then confirmed follow-ups were made on each case. 

Detective O’Rear was personally selected by Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne to serve on the Law Enforcement Advisory Board, which consists of various police chiefs and four officers statewide. O’Rear serves on the Steering Committee for the Law Enforcement Mental Health Alliance of North Texas, where she helps get resources and training to first responders. She is also a member of the Tarrant County Law Enforcement Mental Health Stakeholder Committee, where she works to improve mental health services for citizens and officers. 

May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, which aims to bring awareness to the issue and also remind people in crisis that there are agencies and experts ready and willing to help them. The Grapevine Police Department is extremely proud of the continued work done by Detective Christina O’Rear to help individuals and families and appreciates the recognition by Texas CIT. 

Angel Carter Receives Beautify Texas Award

Carter (Photo: City of Grand Prairie)

(Grand Prairie, Texas) – Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) recently announced Angel Carter as a winner of the 2022 O.P. Schnabel Volunteer of the Year award. The Beautify Texas Awards, formerly the Keep Texas Beautiful Awards, recognize the efforts of those working to enhance their community and protect the Lone Star State. These awards range in honoring extraordinary volunteers, professionals, youth, educators, businesses, local/civic governments, organizations, and specific projects and programs.

The O.P. Schnabel Volunteer of the Year award is one of ten categories and recognizes individuals who support the mission of KTB through extraordinary volunteer efforts and contribute to the betterment of their community. Angel Carter is incredibly deserving of this recognition. 

In January of 2022, Angel Carter brought together Arlington and Grand Prairie residents for the fourth year in a row for the Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge by joining forces with the City of Arlington Parks Department and the City of Grand Prairie Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful Program. Moving within watersheds, instead of within city limits, 406 volunteers removed 13,640 pounds of litter from Fish Creek in 2022. This increases the lifetime numbers of the Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge to 2,246 volunteers removing over 62,220 pounds of litter from Fish Creek.

The Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge was founded in 2019 because Angel Carter was motivated to do something about the litter accumulation along her beloved walking trail. The 7.3-mile Fish Creek Linear Trail overlooks Fish Creek along the entire route while crossing the city boundary between Arlington and Grand Prairie, in north-central Texas. Join us for the 5th annual Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge on Saturday, January 28, 2023. Information is available at https://cleanupchallenge.info.

In addition to being the founder of the Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge, Angel also serves as the DFW platoon leader for The Mission Continues and an Operation Legacy Leader of the Travis Manion Foundation. She continues to serve her community as an active member of many environmental, community, and social improvement initiatives including Trinity River Trash Bash, Ferguson Road Initiative, Character Does Matter mentor, and local race director for the 9/11 Heroes Run DFW.

“We are proud to honor and recognize Texans who are making a difference in our state,” says Suzanne Kho, Executive Director of Keep Texas Beautiful. “Their actions do more than protect the environment: they inspire community members to get involved and help us keep Texas beautiful.”

For more than 20 years, Keep Texas Beautiful has recognized extraordinary Texans and Texas institutions who are committed to keeping Texas beautiful. Today, these awards serve as a continued reminder of the hard work and dedication of our supporters across the state.

Angel Carter will be honored at the KTB Annual Conference, which will take place in Austin from June 27 through June 29. A full list of winners and award descriptions, as well as information about the conference, can be found at www.ktb.org