Old Spanish Trail the topic of Dayton Historical Society meeting

Charlotte Kahl (left) and Jeanette Frick were the guest speakers at the June 24 gathering of the Dayton Historical Society.

Dayton Historical Society met Monday evening, June 24, at Parker Hall with 39 people in attendance.  The program was two-fold:  the first presentation was made by Charlotte Kahl, Chairman of the OST100 Centennial celebration, and the second part of the program was given by Jeanette Frick.  

Kahl is passionate about the history of the Old Spanish Trail Highway Project that was first conceived in 1915 and completed in 1929. The project became the first paved highway system to run from the east to the west coast.  The highway was eventually renamed U.S. Highway 90 and is overlapped by Interstate 10 at various points along the old route. 

Kahl told of the hardships faced by the engineers making this project a reality and the difficulties they faced having to build bridges across all of the rivers and marshes. Funding the project was another feat in itself. 

In 2002, Kahl helped form the Old Spanish Trail Centennial organization to preserve the history of the highway and organize a series of historical reenactments that will culminate in a grand motorcade across the Old Spanish Trail in 2029. Kahl used a PowerPoint presentation, along with many photos and other items on display, to educate the audience as to the resurgence in interest for the highway. 

She invited everyone to a reenactment of the 1919 OST Convention that will take place in Houston on July 25–27 at the Sam Houston Hotel.  There will be a historic Main Street walk, a symposium, and exhibits, all of which are free to the public.  Registration should be made by June 30 on the website OTS100.com. 

Dayton Historical Society member Jeanette Frick followed with a very informative short program about the 1938 tenth anniversary celebration of the completion of the Old Spanish Trail for which the 48-member Dayton High School Band was named its “official” band.  The event took place at Pensacola, Florida on July 14–16. 

Frick traced the band’s route to the event, which was under the leadership of Dayton citizen W.T. Jamison, School Superintendent V.W. Miller, and band director Walter B. Stephenson.  As the band made its way (on two school buses and one automobile) across Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, they were welcomed by the mayors of the cities and treated to special dinners in their honor. 

They also gave a concert to roughly 1,500 people at St. Martinsville, La.  Frick said, “How and why Dayton’s high school band was chosen for this opportunity is not clear, but by all appearances, W.T. Jamison had a hand in Dayton’s musicians receiving this honor.” 

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