The city of Hondo is a small place that people often drive past. In 1930, a road sign was put up: “THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY. DON’T DRIVE THRU IT LIKE HELL.” The sign was photographed and appeared in national travel magazine and on postcards.
Some residents objected to the use of the word “hell.” A later version of the sign changed “thru” to “through” and added the word “please.”
Wikipedia: Hondo, Texas
Hondo is a city in Medina County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,897 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Medina County.
The city was first settled in 1881 and incorporated in 1942. The U.S. Army built an air field in the town in 1942 to train new pilots; at one time the largest air navigation school in the world, Hondo Army Air Field trained over 14,000 navigators for service during World War II before closing in 1946.
In 1930, the local Hondo Lions Club erected the now somewhat famous sign reading “This is God’s Country, Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell,” at the city limits with the intention of slowing down those speeding while traveling through town. Later, in the 1940’s the sign was changed to “This is God’s Country, Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell” in order to satisfy those in the town who were displeased with the tone of the old sign. The sign has been in news and print in many magazines, including on the cover of National Geographic, and in the music video of Little Texas’ song “God Blessed Texas.”
Hondo’s Sign Spans the Decades
Old postcards of Hondo’s Welcome Sign
Hondo Sign Card 1: This black and white card dates from the late 1930s and appears to be placed well outside the city proper. Printed with no caption, the photographer evidently decided to let the sign speak for itself.
Hondo Sign Card 2 was published by Don Bartels in Mc Allen with the caption: As you travel west out of San Antonio, the busy and growing community of Hondo Texas will greet you with these signs.
Hondo Sign Card 3: Published by The Peterson Company, photo by Sharon Reagan. Some landscaping has been added and the word ‘please’. This represents a kinder, gentler Hondo. Also “through” has been spelled out, abandoning the ‘modern’ spelling of the past. Caption reads: This famous sign has greeted travelers through Hondo since 1930. It has appeared in worldwide publications and on national T.V. This much-photographed sign is the trademark of Hondo, Texas, founded in 1881, Medina County, and 40 miles west of San Antonio on US 90.
Hondo Sign Card 4: Nearly the same as number three, but more growth on the shrubs. Photo by Whitney Zinsmeyer. Caption nearly the same but calls the sign “A tourist’s photographic delight."It also says: “Hondo, a city of 6,000 was established in 1882.”
27 October 1940, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Highway Sign at Hondo Emphatic,” part 2, pg. 5, col. 2 photo caption:
Often quoted by the nation’s tourists, who in their wayward travels have passed through Hondo, Texas, is the town’s pertinent message to speedsters.
Wasting no words, the sign says in foot-high letters:
“This is God’s Country. Don’t Drive Through (The photo has “Thru”—ed.) It Like Hell.”
The sign has been pictured and quoted in numerous travel magazines. It was erected 10 years ago and has been frequently re-painted.
Fort Worth Hole in the Wall
Monday, May 26, 2008
Texas Road Trip
Hermann Son’s Steakhouse, 577 Hwy 90 E. - Great steak place. Big steaks and Big CFS with real gravy. And catch the sign as you enter Hondo “This is God’s country so don’t drive through it like Hell”.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, June 03, 2008 • Permalink