Camino del Norte: How a Series of Watering Holes, Fords, and Dirt Trails Evolved into Interstate 35 in Texas

Overview

Some five hundred miles of superhighway run between the Rio Grande and the Red River—present-day Interstate 35. This towering achievement of modern transportation engineering links a string of Texas metropolises and some 7.7 million people, and yet it all evolved from a series of humble little trails.

The I-35 Corridor that runs north-south through Texas connects Dallas and Fort Worth with Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo en route to ancient towns in Mexico. Along its path lie ...

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Overview

Some five hundred miles of superhighway run between the Rio Grande and the Red River—present-day Interstate 35. This towering achievement of modern transportation engineering links a string of Texas metropolises and some 7.7 million people, and yet it all evolved from a series of humble little trails.

The I-35 Corridor that runs north-south through Texas connects Dallas and Fort Worth with Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo en route to ancient towns in Mexico. Along its path lie urban centers, technology parks, parking lots, strip malls, apartment complexes, and vast open spaces. In this fascinating popular history, based on extensive primary and secondary research, Howard J. Erlichman asks how and why the Camino del Norte (the Northern Road) developed as (and where) it did. He uncovers, dissects, prioritizes, and repackages layer upon layer of centuries-spanning history to, in his words, "solve the mystery of I-35."

His chronicle focuses less on the physical placement of I-35 than on the reasons it was created: the founding of posts and villages and the early development of towns. Along the way, he explores a number of circumstances that contributed to the location and development of the corridor: pre-Columbian cultures, Mexican silver mining, road and bridge building techniques, Indian tribes, railroad developments, military affairs, car culture, and pavement technology, to name a few.

Presently, a variety of new highway projects are underway to address the dramatic expansion of I-35 traffic generated by population growth and business enterprise. Those interested in the economic development of the state of Texas, in NAFTA links and their precursors, and in touring the Interstate itself will find this book informative and useful.

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Editorial Reviews

Char Miller
".. . compelling. Erlichman has done a nice job of luring readers into his story about the movement of human beings and their societies along the traces, paths, trails, rail tracks, and roads that in time would evolve into IH-35. The concept is intriguing, the accompanying maps are nicely done."—Char Miller, Trinity University, editor of Urban Texas: Politics and Development
American-Statesman
"Metaphorically, this book blazes a trail in its own right. It's a major expanison of the relatively sparse bibliography of Texas transportation history...Camino del Norte is a must-read."
Texas Books in Review
The book's copious detail is astonishing and quite brilliant. . . . The book's subtitle, How a Series of Watering Holes, Fords, and Dirt Trails Evolved into Interstate 35 in Texas, is a promise well kept.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

HOWARD J. ERLICHMAN is a business consultant in Austin, Texas. He holds master's degrees from Harvard University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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