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Texas Roadside History


The winding roads and highways of Texas all lead to historic areas of the state. The Rio Grande Valley has a vast amount of rich cultural history and more. Find out where to order one of the titles from below and more.

Leon C. Metz’s introduction to “Brush Country,” from the book “Roadside History of Texas,” gives some interesting background to the area. The excerpt is as follows:

The Brush Country has additional descriptive names: Spanish Texas, South Texas, — even Extreme South Texas, meaning the lower Rio Grande Valley. Here, that valley –also called Delta Country—is a part of the Brush Country. As for the term “brush,” it is more common among Anglos than Hispanics, who say “chaparral” for the same meaning; usage is a matter of preference and language orientation.The brush Country contains twenty million acres of subtropical, dry land vegetation. Most of it unfurls south from San Antonio toward the Rio Grande and extends east almost to the coast.

The most recent prehistoric vegetation in the Brush Country consisted primarily of bunchgrass growing amidst post oak, live oak, and mesquite. But early ranchers understood little about sustaining the natural plant life, and most of the bunchgrass died out from being overgrazed. The encompassing brush –mostly mesquite, prickly pear, and dwarf oaks—has grown in dense thickets. A portion of the area has been reseeded with buffalo grass. Since the advent of European culture during the early 1700s, South Texas has primarily catered to stock raising with an emphasis on cattle, sheep, horses, and goats. The valley is geographically a part of the Brush Country, but irrigation has made it principally agricultural.

Roadside History of Texas
Leon C. Metz
1994, Mountain Press Publishing Company, $18.00 [Good easy guide to the history of the state and then of each region in the state, including South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.]

Why Stop? A Guide to Texas Historical Roadside Markers
Betty Dooley Awbrey and Claude Dooley

1999, Lone Star Books, Gulf Publishing, $16.95 [Reproduces the text of the 2,500 historic markers located on Texas roads]