Hill Country Backroads
Showing the Way in Comal County
Texana
6 x 9, 202 pp.
49 photos. 3 Maps
Pub Date: 03/01/2001
  paper
Price:        $17.95

978-0-87565-239-9

Published by Texas Christian University Press

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Hill Country Backroads

Showing the Way in Comal County

By Laurie Jasinski

The Guadalupe River Drive in the Texas Hill Country, now approaching its 100th anniversary, began as a small path carved from the rocky hillside. Today called River Road, this popular tourist destination is enjoyed by both residents of and visitors to New Braunfels.

In Hill Country Backroads: Showing the Way in Comal County, Laurie E. Jasinski explores the time when roads such as the Guadalupe River Drive were unknown and unexplored. A time when it was nearly impossible to reach your destination without having to change a few tires or find a team of mules to pull you out of the mud. A time when a journey was an adventure.

Jasinski spent nearly a decade researching the early history of motoring and tourism in the area. Hill Country Backroads combines the setting of the Hill Country in the early 1900s with a historical narrative of Joe Sanders, Jasinki’s grandfather, who was central to making the countryside of Comal County accessible to visitors and residents. Sanders improved travel in the area by creating the first scenic map of Comal County and implementing a system of road signs to label the county’s confusing byways. Sanders’ passion for travel and his attempt to show others how to enjoy life are driving forces throughout the book.

Sanders’ scenic maps of the area are reproduced along with original photographs of the characters, landscape, and automobiles of the period. Interviews with people who knew Sanders provide fascinating insight into this man and his contributions to Hill Country tourism.

Hill Country Backroads combines two distinct but interwoven elements: the setting of the Hill Country in the early 1900s and the life of Joe Sanders. This rich compilation of historical events and human interaction is irresistible.

Laurie E. Jasinski, a native of New Braunfels and now a resident of San Marcos, is a contributor to The New Handbook of Texas (1996) and has written features for Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Texas Gardener. She has also contributed historical articles to The Journal of South Texas.

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