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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Texas Highways achieves global distribution
People in 48 foreign countries and all 50 states are able to purchase copies.
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.
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.”
Texas’ 150th anniversary
The Legislature names Texas Highways the official publication of the Texas Sesquicentennial.
The magazine achieves peak circulation
Texas Highways reaches its highest number of subscribers: 439,836.
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.
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.
The first perfect bound issue comes out
The March 2018 issue switches from staple saddle-stitch to perfect binding.
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.
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.
The Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville
The Strand in Galveston
South Padre Island
Wurstfest in New Braunfels
Washington’s Birthday Celebration in Laredo
Terlingua Chili Cookoff
Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
Fiesta in San Antonio
The Texas State Fair
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.