A History of Texas State Highway 95
by Christopher Dow
Texas State Highway 95 is a north-south route that begins in Yoakum at its southern end and terminates in Temple at its northern end. It is about 150 miles long, and if you just drive it straight through, it takes about two and a half hours. We hope you won’t, but will linger along its path to take in the many interesting features lying along or near it.
The route, as such, has existed only since April 21, 1924, but many of the roadways it follows are much older and began life as dirt tracks. Over the years, these have been widened and repaved to accommodate heavier traffic. Other roads were constructed later to fill in gaps or to otherwise alter the route to make it more viable. The original designated section—from Elgin north to Taylor—was only about 16 miles long and can be driven in under twenty minutes. Because Elgin and Taylor are larger and older towns than many others along the route, it’s easy to see why this segment was developed first.
The second leg, which takes in both the central and southern portions of the route, were designated on April 6, 1932. Originally, it was planned to run south from Elgin, through Bastrop, Smithville, and Flatonia to Yoakum, where it took a turn to the west to terminate in Hochheim, a little less than 10 miles west of Yoakum. Much of the southern section of the route—Flatonia to Yoakum—already existed as the older State Highway 109, which it replaced. Later, the western leg to Hochheim was redesignated SH 111, making Yoakum the current southern terminus of SH 95.
For a time, however, significant gaps remained in the central portion of the route, notably between Elgin and Flatonia. In 1939, work was completed on the section between Elgin and Bastrop, and two years later, the gap between Flatonia and Smithville was filled. This still left a gap between Bastrop and Smithville, which was filled by having SH 95 run concurrently for a short distance with the larger and more-traveled SH 71. Another place where SH 95 runs concurrently with another highway is in Elgin, where it accompanies US 290 through Elgin.
The northern-most leg—between Elgin and Temple—was the last to be completed, and was finished only in 1978. A further northern extension of the route from Temple was eliminated, and the roadway there was reassigned as the eastern portion of Temple’s Loop 363.
Along its nearly 150-mile length, SH 95 runs through six counties. North to south, they are: Bell, Williamson, Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, and Lavaca, though it is important to note that the road barely clips the northeast corner of Travis County, and if you blink, you might miss it. Check the county pages (here) for more information on each of these counties.