The Old San Antonio Road in Central Houston County

The Old San Antonio Road crosses central Houston County diagonally from northeast to southwest. The county seat of Crockett is in the middle of this area. It is surrounded mostly by ranches, farms, and pastures, but the oil and gas industry also has a significant presence in the countryside.

Because Crockett was founded over a mile away from El Camino Real, the highways through the city are not on the Old San Antonio Road, and most of its route near Crockett has now been lost. Further from town, especially in the countryside between Crockett and the Davy Crockett National Forest, Highway 21 does represent the OSR route.

Map of the Old San Antonio Road in Central Houston County

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Route Details

The route of the Old San Antonio Road through Central Houston County is plotted as follows:
  • SH 21 from FM 227N for 15.8 miles to FM 3187. This section conforms closely to the Old San Antonio Road. It has two undivided lanes, with no shoulders.
  • Route lost from SH 21 at FM 3187 northeast of Crockett to SH 21 at CR 3015 southwest of Crockett. The OSR went through the far east and near south sides of present-day Crockett. The entire 7.4 miles of this segment have been lost.

SH 21 Northeast of Crockett

Houston County - SH  21 Northeast of Crockett
Top (l to r): Site of OSR Marker #27; Hay meadow on Highway 21.
Bottom (l to r): The 1919 Rice cabin; Houston County welcome billboard on Highway 21 at Farm Road 3187. The Old San Antonio Road continued straight ahead, through where the billboard is now.

The Old San Antonio Road is on State Highway 21 as it emerges from the Davy Crockett National Forest. The scenery changes from a thick forest of tall trees to cultivated fields used for grazing and farming. OSR Marker #27 is in this lightly-populated area.

In 1828, Joseph R. Rice and his wife, Willie, built a log cabin on the Old San Antonio Road. This cabin became a waystation and stage coach stop for people traveling between Crockett and Nacogdoches. The cabin was still standing and was occupied by the Rice's descendants at the time of Zively's survey, but it does not appear in his sketches or notes.

In 1919, the Rice's grandson built a new house on the site. He preserved the old cabin in a new location nearby. That original cabin was restored and moved to Mission Tejas State Park in 1936. The 1919 house still exists between OSR Marker #27 and County Road 1515. Both sites are commemorated with state historical markers.

Highway 21 corresponds with the Old San Antonio Road only as far as Farm Road 3187. At that point, the two routes diverge, rejoining on the other side of Crockett.


Houston County - Crockett
Top (l to r): Original site of OSR Marker #28 on Highway 7; Houses on Highway 21/Houston Ave. in Crockett.
Bottom (l to r): Crockett town square; Site of OSR Marker #29.

Crockett was founded in 1837 to be the seat of Houston County. Andrew Edwards Gossett, a settler from Tennessee, donated the land. Gossett and his father named the town after Alamo hero David Crockett, their former neighbor in Tennessee who was thought to have camped near the townsite in January 1836 on his way to San Antonio.

Crockett was located about a mile and a quarter northwest of the Old San Antonio Road. At first, Crockett was connected to El Camino Real with two roads that were approximately where SH 19 South and U.S. 287 South are today. The OSR and these two connector roads are depicted on an 1859 map. After a short time, however, new roads were built directly into town, turning the Old San Antonio Road into a useless bypass. By the early 1900s, the roads that would later become all of the main routes into and through Crockett - including U.S. Highway 287, State Highways 7, 19, and 21, and Farm Roads 229 and 2022 - had been built. None of the Old San Antonio Road in or around Crockett can be found on a 1906 map of Houston County.

The route that Zively plotted shows that the Old San Antonio Road was on present-day Highway 21 coming in from the northeast until Farm Road 3187. There, Highway 21 turns toward Crockett, but the Old San Antonio Road continued on its path headed east of town. It intersected present-day Highway 7 about 2¼ miles east of downtown Crockett at Arnold Creek.1 Zively placed the survey post for OSR Marker #28 at this intersection. The granite marker has since been moved to Highway 21.

At Highway 7 and Arnold Creek, the Old San Antonio Road turned to the west-southwest, passing through the south side of Crockett's present-day city limits. It rejoined with Highway 21 on the southwest side of Crockett at County Road 3015. OSR Marker #29 marks this intersection.

Crockett continued to grow steadily throughout the 20th century. Its population of 6,950 in 2010 was down from its peak of 7,141 in 2000. It has a diversified economy that includes agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, retail, and tourism.

Page last updated: February 24, 2014

1Zively's survey sketch indicates that the Kings Highway crossed "Kinnard and Crockett Road" at "Grannie's Branch". There can be no doubt that the road he referred to was present-day Highway 7, which is the route between Crockett and Kennard. He noted that this crossing was "S. or E. of Crockett" by what appears, at first glance, to be a distance of "12¼ mi." Upon closer inspection, however, the 1 looks more like a stray mark on the page and less like the numeral 1. 12¼ miles from Crockett would take the Old San Antonio Road way off of its known course, while 2¼ miles is the exact distance from downtown Crockett to Arnold Creek on Highway 7.

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