For a small town, the traffic in Humble can be a nightmare. That has not always been true of our urban area which has only one major highway.
Let’s consider the highways of Humble in the 1930s and ‘40s. Think of a flat landscape with no concrete overpasses or traffic lights, only two-lane asphalt roads going north, south, east and west. Main Street crossed Hwy. 59 and ended at FM 1960, creating a Y in the road on the west side of Humble. At the intersections of Main Street and FM 1960 at Hwy. 59 were stop signs. Traffic on Hwy. 59 did not stop, and most of the time the cars did not slow down. Drivers had to move with caution when crossing the highway. By the end of the 1950s, Hwy. 59 had become a busy, sometimes crowded, thoroughfare.
Farm-to-Market Road 1960 connected the farms to markets from Hwy. 290 on the west side to Dayton on the east. The speed limit along FM 1960 was 70 mph and the drivers took advantage of it. Just 2 miles west of Humble the road had a sharp curve in it. The driveway to my house began in the middle of the curve. There were signs warning drivers to take the curve at 40 mph. However, most drivers paid no heed to the signs. At night and on weekends, we would hear tires screeching and brakes squealing as drivers realized they needed to slow down. Many times it was too late and we heard the crunch of metal as cars hit something or crossed the shallow ditch and crashed through a barbed wire fence. FM 1960 was a sometimes dangerous, well-traveled road.
The quiet streets of Humble created a very different scene from the two major highways. FM 1960 became First Street in town. Other streets were north and south of First Street. The business area of the city has Main Street with Granberry and Statti on the south side and Higgins and Herman on the north. North of First Street is Second through Seventh streets with the cross streets named Avenue A through Avenue H. The business area of town ended at Railroad Avenue while the residential area north of First Street has Charles running north and south on the west side and North Houston Avenue on the east side.
If you aren’t acquainted with the residential areas of Old Humble, I invite you to drive down the streets and see the wood-frame homes that have been in the town for many decades as well as newer brick homes along with the large, stately trees which add to the charm of the area. You’ll find some beautifully landscaped lawns and lovely homes. Also, I challenge you to drive from Charles Street to North Houston Avenue. It is possible, but there will be some twists and turns to maneuver.
On a more modern note, do you know that Humble has its very own loop? It’s a loop with a jog in it, but it does surround most of the town. To drive the loop, begin on FM 1960 Bypass at Whitaker. Drive south on Whitaker, cross Business FM 1960, and continue down McKay Drive. At Will Clayton turn left and continue to Wilson Road. Take another left turn onto Wilson and drive north; cross FM 1960 Bypass and continue on Townsen Boulevard. Townsen will circle around and end at the bypass. Turn left onto the bypass and drive the jog to Whitaker; you have driven the loop around Humble.
Through the years, the highways and byways in Humble have changed. Many new streets have been added. However, if you don’t know of the streets named here, I encourage you to explore the area called Old Humble. You will find where the town began over 100 years ago.