BEEVILLE – On March 17, four men and Bee County photographer Sylvia Garcia-Smith met up in northern Bee County to investigate the remnants of an old bridge located on Hardy O’Reily’s property. 

An off-shoot feeder of the El Camino de Real de los Tejas runs just south of where this old bridge was found. The trail is on the Dougherty Ranch, so it was something that Steven Gonzales, executive director of the National Historic Trail Association out of Austin was interested in looking at. 

Commissioner Dennis Dewitt was asked to join the group by the initial “finder” of the old bridge remnants, Baldemar Galvan, of Bee County. 

Galvan has been working on this ranch and has explored the area having found the old bridge which appears to run north and south. 

While there, the group, comprised of Galvan, DeWitt, O’Reily and Steven Gonzales, worked on finding where the wagon swales may have gone and followed an old trail just south of County Road 104. 

Gonzales is an expert at finding these swales and has spent a considerable amount of time in the field cataloging the “El Camino Real de los Tejas” and ensuring the old road, also known as the “Old Kings Highway” is not lost and forgotten. 

He has also been instrumental in ensuring signage is placed where the “Old” road was once located. The group had a crash course on finding swales.

O’Reily was very pleased with what was found on his properly. It might not be part of the “Camino Real”, but it may be an off-shoot for the old settlers of the area having used the Camino Real and then come into Normanna via that route. 

This is speculation, of course, but lots of fun to think about to where the old roads may have led.

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