The real Bloody 31
A News-Journal article (Sept. 9) was recently published concerning the upswing of fatalities on Texas 31 from Kilgore to Tyler. With recent improvements to this fairly flat and straight highway, I am not surprised with the drivers’ excessive speed causing needless accidents. Hopefully, funding will become available for safer travel.
Actually, the stretch of Texas 31 from the Gregg and Smith county line to Tyler is not “Bloody 31.” In the mid-1950s, before the new road bed from Kilgore to Tyler was complete, Texas 31 curved right where the Country Tavern restaurant is and continued to Tyler. This section is the disastrous “Bloody 31,” now FM 2767 and is very hilly and curvy.
The main reason for the “Bloody 31” automobile crashes was alcohol available for sale in (wet) Gregg County to residents of (dry) Smith County. Just east of the county line was a plethora of “honky tonks,” “beer joints” and package stores whose customers were many Tyler residents.
My grandfather, a strict teetotaler, would say that these Tyler folks would come to Kilgore, “get likkered up” and get back on “Bloody 31”.
— Mike Ford, Longview