Laura and Sam Dawson Gallery

Connecting Texas: 300 Years of Trails, Rails, and Roads

February – September 2018

From the earliest foot paths to modern highways, people have traversed Texas to make connections. Historic maps provide a glimpse into these journeys. Explore how early Texas trails brought peoples and cultures into contact and conflict and served as the lifeline of remote colonies and supported an often-unsteady economy.

During the 19th century, population increase, political upheaval, and wars created connections from one end of the state to the other. After the Civil War, railroads became a major catalyst in the modernization and industrialization of Texas. By the mid-20th century, highway systems connected the state to more places than ever before.

Learn about this pivotal part of Texas history with the cartographic resources of the Texas General Land Office at the Witte Museum and discover how Texas and Texans have connected over the last 300 Years.