Trinity University Press

San Antonio on Wheels

The Alamo City Learns to Drive

Hugh Hemphill (author), Red McCombs (foreword)

The rise of mechanized transportation in San Antonio

Horseless carriages came to San Antonio to stay in 1899. Mechanized transport—including bicycles—revolutionized the way things moved in the largest city in Texas, though it took a little practice. Following a series of mishaps, in 1910 city council adopted a formal set of driving rules. The speed limit was set at eight miles an hour within one mile of San Fernando Cathedral and at fifteen miles an hour beyond that.

San Antonio on Wheels documents the San Antonio region’s dramatic transition to modern transportation, using a host of previously unpublished photographs and a wealth of new information. The city had always been dependent on horses, oxen, and mules. The story unfolds as bicycles and then horseless carriages transformed the way people moved around, both in general transport and for recreation. Photographs and text portray the struggles of San Antonians to drive beyond, first to neighboring towns like Kerrville and Corpus Christi, and then to the rest of the world on a rugged new highway known as the Old Spanish Trail, what is today the general route for Interstate 10.


San Antonio on Wheels cannot fail to move the heart of anyone who loves his or her car.

San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio on Wheels cover
  • Price: $18.95 buy »
  • Pages: 84
  • Size: 8.5 X 11
  • Published: Jan 2010
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595346803


U.S. Southwest, History, Texas