50 Years on the Road

Come along for the ride as we celebrate 50 years on the road! Subscribe today and take advantage of our anniversary special – one year of Texas Highways for only $18.

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Welcome to the 50th year of Texas Highways. Throughout 2024, we’re celebrating our anniversary with special features, inspiring content, and a fresh new look as we guide you on your next Texas adventure.

Texas Highways Milestones

Before Texas Highways became a consumer magazine, it was known by the slightly less charming name Construction & Maintenance Bulletin, an internal publication for the employees of the Texas Highway Department. Founded in 1950, the bulletin covered highway design, construction, and maintenance. From those humble origins, the publication evolved into a beloved multimedia brand with a peak subscriber base of nearly 440,000 and 2 million website visitors annually. Here, we highlight the magazine’s decades of progress and accomplishments.

1953

A collection of covers of Texas Highways' past versions

Texas Highways gets its name

The Texas Highway Department—now known as the Texas Department of Transportation—changes the name of its in-house publication from Construction & Maintenance Bulletin. But the shift from an internal, technical publication to a travel-focused magazine occurs gradually over many years.

1962

A black and white photograph of a man holding a telephone

The Lively years

Frank Lively is named editor in August. Lively, who would go on to lead Texas Highways for 28 years, begins adding stories about historical events and places and other topics of general interest.

1974

The first cover of Texas Highways as a commercial magazine

Texas Highways becomes a consumer magazine

Under Lively’s direction, the magazine fully transitions to a consumer publication, with an annual subscription price of $4.50. The May 1974 issue is the first issue devoted entirely to travel stories and produced for the general public. Stories center on “the Texas Indian, with a look at his past, his present and his future,” the cover credit on Page 1 explains.

The first cover of Texas Highways featuring a field of wildflowers

Texas wildflowers appear on the cover for the first time

The June 1974 cover features “a field strewn with pink evening primrose and Indian paintbrush showing why the ‘primrose path’ has always been associated with beauty, tranquility and happiness.” A year later, in 1975, bluebonnets make their cover debut.

1975

A group of men in suits stand around a seated man, who is signing paperwork

The state Legislature names Texas Highways the official state travel magazine

Gov. Dolph Briscoe signs a resolution by the state Legislature declaring the magazine’s official status.

1977

Texas Highways achieves global distribution

People in 48 foreign countries and all 50 states are able to purchase copies.

1979

A wall calendar laying on a tan background

The Texas Highways calendar debuts

After readers write in asking for a calendar featuring the magazine’s photography, Texas Highways releases its annual calendar—a product that is still produced annually.

1980

Two men shake hands as one receives an award

Texas Highways receives the first-ever Texas Award for Historic Preservation from the Texas Historical Commission

The magazine is recognized for its “significant contributions toward preserving Texas history, architecture, archeology, and culture.”

1986

Texas’ 150th anniversary

The Legislature names Texas Highways the official publication of the Texas Sesquicentennial.

1992

The Texas Highways Gift Shop opens

Wildflower posters, 1836 maps, and Texas Highways binders are among the first products sold. In 2018, the name is changed to the current Texas Highways Mercantile.

1993

The August 1993 cover depicts two people walking down a path in a wooded scene

The magazine achieves peak circulation

Texas Highways reaches its highest number of subscribers: 439,836.

1998

A screenshot of Texas Highways' website

Texashighways.com goes live

The initial version of the website is sweet and simple. Visitors get a monthly glimpse into the latest print issue. Today, about 2 million users visit the site every year.

2009

Texas Highways joins Facebook

This marks the magazine’s first foray into social media. Over the years, Texas Highways amasses a loyal audience of nearly 270,000 Facebook followers and expands to other platforms, including X and Instagram.

2014

A black and white sticker with a cartoon armadillo and the words

The True Texan brand is born

After a redesign in 2013, products with the words “True Texan” debut to celebrate the distinctive Texas experience. An exclusive “True Texan” sticker can be seen on vehicles across the state and is still available for purchase.

2018

The first perfect bound issue comes out

The March 2018 issue switches from staple saddle-stitch to perfect binding.

2021

A mockup of three essays from past issues of Texas Highways

Texas Highways receives its first National Magazine Award nomination

The magazine is a finalist at the country’s most prestigious magazine award show. Three essays from the Open Road section, which debuted in 2018, are nominated in the Columns and Commentary category alongside entries from The Atlantic, The Economist, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

2022

A stack of award plaques

Texas Highways receives a record number of industry awards

The magazine received two City and Regional Magazine Awards and 11 International Regional Magazine Association gold prizes.

Travel Back in Time

Much of what we call iconic Texas destinations today were just starting to gain popularity when Texas Highways came into the fold. Here’s what some of our favorite places looked like in our pages 50 years ago.

A chalet-style building on a green lawn with flowers

The Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville

A person in a long red coat walks along a roadway under a street sign reading

The Strand in Galveston

An overhead view of a bridge to an island

South Padre Island

An overhead view of the festivities inside of a large bier hall with lights and flags

Wurstfest in New Braunfels

A child wears a patriotic outfit including a red and white striped hat

Washington’s Birthday Celebration in Laredo

A vintage photo of a man in a cowboy hat working over a fire and pot of chili

Terlingua Chili Cookoff

A black and white photograph of Cadillac ranch in a grassland

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo

A float on water with people in large costumes in front of a crowd of onlookers

Fiesta in San Antonio

A black and white picture of an overhead view of crowds at the Texas State Fair

The Texas State Fair

Two large sculptures of dinosaurs in front of green trees

Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose

The Road Ahead

Stay connected with us as we enter the next era of Texas Highways. We hope you’ll join us on the road.

The March 2024 cover of Texas Highways Magazine

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