Walked the Mile

The Mile Walk to St. Mary's

For half a century, St. Mary students walked a mile to campus from the West End Electric line terminal.

The addition of St. Louis College in 1894 and the issue of transportation threatened the prosperity of the college. The ten-mile distance between the downtown campus to the Woodlawn campus, at the time, was an issue due to the availability of only rudimentary mode of transportation.

Streetcars in San Antonio were electrified in 1890. This innovative feature provided for faster transportation, as streetcars could not go up to 20 miles per hour, double the speed of the original horse-drawn cars. The cars also doubled in size, now offering 16 to 32 seats in a single streetcar. In 1891, there were only four streetcar lines in San Antonio ran by four different companies -- the Bellknap, the McCrillis, the West End, and Alamo Heights. Riders had to buy separate tickets if they switched cars during a route due to the different ownerships.

In the 1890’s, there was only one route that came to St. Louis College, and it was by way of the West End Electric Line. In 1899, the line terminated its straight route to the campus and the new stop ended at San Antonio Female College, located at 2600 W. Woodlawn Ave, presently Assumption Seminary. The West End Electric Line, a blue streetcar, began its route from downtown Houston Street and made its way west onto Ruiz Street, north towards Cincinnati Street traveling south under Woodlawn Lake, turning west onto Ashby PL Road and north towards the intersection of Woodlawn Ave. and Bandera ending at San Antonio Female College.

The relocation of the stop forced St. Louis College students to “walk the mile” towards the college. They made their way into a thicket of mesquite and dirt road to get to school. The students walked this mile for one half century until the city extended its bus line to the college in 1949.



West End Line Streetcar Audio Tour wav / 16.33 MB Download


4600 Woodlawn to One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, Tx. 78253 ~ The walk began at 4600 Woodlawn Ave. (Assumption Seminary now) to St. Mary's University. The mile walk on Cincinnati Ave.