Old Spanish Trail (auto trail)
|Southern Borderland Trunckline
The Highway of the Southern Borderlands
|West end:||San Diego, California|
|East end:||St. Augustine, Florida|
The Old Spanish Trail (the OST) was an auto trail that once spanned the United States with a full 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of roadway from ocean to ocean. It crossed eight states and 67 counties along the southern border of the United States. Work on the auto highway began in 1915 at a meeting held at the Battle House Hotel in Mobile, Alabama, and, by the 1920s, the trail linked St. Augustine, Florida, to San Diego, California, with its center and headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. The cities in between boasted a shared heritage of Spanish missions, forts and Spanish colonization.
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Much of that trail still exists, and preparations have already begun for a decade-long Centennial Celebration to begin in 2019 and end with a 2029 motorcade grand finale from St. Augustine to San Diego. The present-day, all-volunteer Old Spanish Trail Centennial Celebration Association OST100 is collecting oral histories, travel logs and news articles related to the Old Spanish Trail in order to conserve the roadways, businesses and historic sites of the original Old Spanish Trail auto highway both physically and in the memory of the American people.
The current work of revitalization, historic preservation, public/private partnerships, restoration, and road enhancements, follows the lead of the original founders of the OST, who involved greatly diverse interests in building and beautifying the original roadway.
The archives of the Old Spanish Trail Association are now held in Special Collections, Louis J. Blume Library St. Mary's University. Smaller archives are held at the Saint Augustine Historical Society, The University of Jacksonville, and other archives along the original route.
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In eastern Texas the Old Spanish Trail can still be seen in many places. The trail runs alongside Interstate 10 through Orange and Vidor; when the trail reaches the Neches River, it merges with Interstate 10 crossing the Purple Heart Bridge, then detours through Downtown Beaumont. While in downtown the trail meets College Street and goes directly west from there to Liberty.
A portion of the trail remains as a segment of U. S. 290 west of Ozona, Texas in Crockett and Pecos Counties. This scenic loop includes the descent of Lancaster Hill, a crossing of the Pecos River at an old iron bridge, and passes through the small community of Sheffield before rejoining Interstate 10.
Throughout the Florida Panhandle, the Old Spanish Trail either follows U.S. Route 90, or local streets that used to be part of US 90, many of which are designated County Road 10A. East of Marianna, it joins State Road 71 southbound until it branches off to the east on an unmarked road, and remains as such until a the second segment of CR 10A joins it in Sneads. Between Quincy and Havana, it runs along State Road 12, and then turns south along U.S. Route 27 until it reaches CR 2196 between Tallahasse and Chaires, where it then turns northeast along former SRs 154 and 158, returning to US 90 in Monticello until it reaches US 1 and turns south towards Saint Augustine.