Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation:
An Inventory of Dewitt C. Greer Correspondence at the Texas State Archives, 1959-1981 (bulk 1970-1981)
The 35th Legislature, House Bill 2, created the Texas State Highway Department in 1917 to aid counties in the construction and maintenance of state highways and to provide for state motor vehicle registration. In 1924 the department assumed active control from the counties for the maintenance and construction of highways. In 1969 the legislature created the Texas Mass Transportation Commission, which was merged with the Highway Department in 1975 to create the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation. On September 1, 1991, the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation and the Texas Department of Aviation were merged into the new Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Administrative control of the Department was vested in a State Highway Commission and a State Highway Engineer. The Commission was composed of three members appointed by the governor, with consent and approval of the Senate, to six-year terms. Duties of the commissioners were to formulate over-all policies and plans for a comprehensive system of state and federal highways under the direct supervision and control of the Department. The Commission appointed, for an indefinite period, the State Highway Engineer to administer the policies, supervise all location, design, construction, and maintenance of state highways, and direct the workings of the Department in general.
Dewitt C. Greer was Texas State Highway Engineer and head of the Highway Department for 27 years, from 1940 to 1967, and a member of the Highway Commission from 1969 to 1981. He first joined the Highway Department in 1927, working in the Tyler district and becoming district engineer. He came to Austin in the late 1930s to be the Department's chief engineer of construction and design. On July 1, 1940, Greer was chosen by the Commission to be State Highway Engineer, a position he held until his retirement in 1967. After his retirement, Governor Preston Smith appointed Greer to the Highway Commission in 1969, and he served as its chairman until 1972. When his first six-year term expired in 1975, Governor Dolph Briscoe appointed him to another one. Greer died in November 1986.
These records of the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation consist of correspondence, maps, newspaper clippings, and local government resolutions. Records date from 1959 to 1981 with the bulk dating from 1970 to 1981. Records are from the correspondence of Dewitt C. Greer, State Highway Engineer (1940-1967) and Highway Commissioner (1969-1981). Correspondents include state and local public officials, district Highway Department engineers, chambers of commerce, businesses, and private citizens. Most of the folders are labeled "Miscellaneous" and these contain much personal correspondence of Greer including congratulatory and condolence letters, letters of recommendation, and invitations. Mixed in with these, however, are letters concerned with such Highway Department matters as the status of a highway construction project or a junkyard visible from the road, which Greer answered personally. There is also a separate folder of congratulatory letters on Greer's appointment to the Highway Commission in 1969. Two other folders are labeled "Pending Hearings" and contain correspondence from landowners, citizens, and businesses that were concerned with proposed road construction. Most of these letters were also answered by Greer but there are some responses by other Highway Department officials. This correspondence was filed separately in case a hearing was requested by one of the parties before the Highway Commission, but none of these cases apparently ever had a hearing.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
(Identify the item), Dewitt C. Greer correspondence, Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1994/096
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Transportation on December 9, 1992.
Paul Beck, June 1994
Detailed Description of the Records