End of US highway 385[I]
|Approx. time period||North terminus||South terminus|
|1926-1930||Raton, NM||Comfort, TX|
|1930-1932||Raton, NM||(near Comfort, TX)|
|1932-1935||Raton, NM||San Antonio, TX|
Today's US 385 is the second route to carry that number; it wasn't commissioned until the late 1950s (you can read about its endpoints on this page). The first US 385 was one of the original 1926 routes, but it lasted only about a decade before being re-posted with other US route numbers (mainly US 87). Its north end was in Raton NM; you can view photos from there on this page.
For the majority of its short existence, it appears the south terminus of US 385 [I] was in and/or near Comfort TX. However, it's proven difficult to figure out exactly where the south ends of US 385 would've been located. Jenn Dolari, Robert Droz, and Steven Taylor provided lots of info, map scans, and photos, and they were all very patient with my questions. We still aren't certain we've got it 100% correct - what follows is our best guess given the information at our disposal. If you have any photos, maps, or info relevant to this discussion, please let me know! Until then, I've posted a scenario which attempts to make sense of the maps and info we've seen:
The main route from San Antonio to Fredericksburg had been along what is now known as the Old San Antonio (or "OSA") Road, and what by then was signed as TX hwy. 9... that is, via Boerne, Nelson City, Welfare, Waring, Windsor, Fredericksburg Junction, Mt. Alamo, Bankersmith, Grapetown, and Cain City. This road was narrow and twisting (still is), and was proving to be ill-suited for travel by automobile. The state of Texas was planning to improve this situation by building a new road: a more direct route between Fredericksburg and Comfort (perhaps it was already under construction by then).
When TX highway officials were approached about the routing of then-proposed US route 385, they envisioned it going due south from Fredericksburg, using the road under construction to Comfort, and ending at US 290. That's why the 1926 AASHO route log lists "Comfort" as the south terminus.
By the time the US route system was actually implemented, the Fredericksburg/Comfort road was not yet completed, so US 385 had to be routed south from Fredericksburg via OSA Rd. But because the south end of 385 was supposed to be in Comfort, TXDoT may have used FM 473 west of Fredericksburg Junction as the southernmost segment of US 385 during the first year or two. The photo below was taken from what was probably the south end:
Taylor, June 2005
By studying old maps and researching the dates that nearby bridges were built, Stephen determined that US 290 was most likely routed along High Street during the late 1920s - early 1930s. That's the crossroad in the photo above. We're looking south on 8th Street, which is probably the road US 385 would've used.
However, for most southbound travelers, it would've been counterintuitive to head west from Fredericksburg Jct. (towards Comfort), when their destination was southeast (to San Antonio). The reality turned out to be that most traffic abandoned the 385 routing at that point, and instead stayed on OSA Rd between Fredericksburg Jct. and Nelson City to get to US 290 and San Antonio.
Texas realized that until the Fredericksburg/Comfort road was complete, it didn't make sense to sign 385 into Comfort. So the south end of the highway designation was switched to the road that people were already using: OSA Rd between Fredericksburg Jct. and Nelson City. This agrees with all post-1928 maps I've seen, including the ones shown below:
On both maps, note how the junction of 385 and 290 is clearly shown as being between Comfort and Boerne (pronounced BUR-nee). Since 385 was originally intended to end at US 290 in Comfort, it may have ended at US 290 in Nelson City after the reroute. (I'm skeptical that 385 would've been co-signed to a terminus in Boerne proper, since it wasn't a particularly large town, and since there were no intersecting US routes there.) The map below clearly shows the roads in question:
TXDoT, c. 1936
By the time of that map, US 385 was gone - the road shown as a solid line was US 87/US 290 (now FM 289). But Stephen's bridge research indicates that alignment couldn't have been opened to traffic prior to 1932. So during the timeframe when US 385 ended here, US 290 traffic must have been using the road shown as a dashed line (the one that braids with the solid line). US 385 came from the north through Waring, and must've ended at the Y-shaped junction at the center of the map. The three buildings shown just south of there represent Nelson City. Below is a photo from that junction:
Taylor, June 2005
That's where US 385 most likely ended, with US 290 running both directions across the photo. Below is another perspective:
Taylor, Sep. 2003
That's looking westbound on FM 289 (the marker is hidden behind the Welfare/Waring sign). This was once US 290, and the south beginning of US 385 would've been to the right via OSA Rd.
By this time perhaps Texas figured the San Antonio/Fredericksburg route (385) was at least as important as SanA/Kerrville (290). At any rate, some maps indicate that they co-signed 385 with 290 all the way into San Antonio. You can view an historic map that shows this multiplex - as well as photos of probable endpoints - on this page.
Two changes, more or less concurrent: US 87 was extended through the area, replacing the 385 designation... and the Fredericksburg/Comfort highway was completed, removing OSA Rd from the US route system. Here's a 1938 map:
That's interesting because it still shows OSA Rd (historic US 385) through Waring.