Abilene Courts (1930)
633 S. Eleventh Street
Abilene, Taylor County
The Abilene Courts is a little-changed 1930s tourist accommodation built in 1930 and typical of many similar places that have been lost along the historic Bankhead Highway. Also known as Route 1 and later as Highway 80, the Bankhead Highway was the earliest paved cross-country highway in America. The Abilene Courts stands symbolically at its midpoint in Texas, and while not as old as other historic landmarks, the Abilene Courts represents an important era in automotive and architectural history in Texas and the United States.
Local ordinances provide no protection for this vacant one-story structure which is located in a neighborhood plagued by disinvestment. For a very low cost, Abilene Courts can be acquired and protected while plans are developed for its preservation and adaptive use. From small shops to artists’ studios, the potential for this roadside landmark is unlimited. And through nomination for state and federal historic designation, this site can be made eligible for a valuable economic stimulus, the new Texas state historic preservation tax credit. Saving Abilene Courts, an important architectural survivor, will preserve a piece of our early 20th century history and encourage the redevelopment of other vacant buildings along the Bankhead Highway.