Think getting around College Station is tough now?

Aggie HitchhikerCollege Station residents are highly familiar with seasonal changes to commuter traffic, especially when the students return after the holidays. In the 141 years since Texas A&M was founded as a isolated outpost south of Bryan, the challenges of getting from place to place have shaped the area’s distinctive character.

Most people use motor vehicles these days, but that wasn’t always the case. College Station’s Project HOLD (online library database) chronicles the history of the city’s various means of transportation through its collection of historic images. Here’s a look at four ways our students — and residents — used to get around:

  • In the early days, many students arrived and departed from the railroad depot.
  • Other prospective travelers were more original. In 1897, some intrepid students formed a bicycle club.
  • For those with a dime to spare, the interurban trolley was a popular mode of transport in the early part of the 20th century.
  • Finally, it was common for many years to see cadets armed only with an outstretched thumb and a hopeful face, hoping to hitch a ride home between semesters.

As the city approaches the 75th anniversary of its incorporation in October, we invite you to take a closer look at the historic images, documents and memorabilia available in Project HOLD.  If you’d like to share your old pictures of College Station’s people and places, contact me at heritageprogram@cstx.gov. We’d love to see them!

Jacob Morris
 
 
Jacob Morris
Historic Records Coordinator | Parks & Recreation

2 responses

  1. Many times, there were long lines of Aggies hitchiking out of Aggieland. It was first come first serve at the intersection of South College and Sulphur Springs Road which was a traffic circle. The traffic circle is long since gone as is the Circle Drive-In Theater. Now it is the intersection of South College and University Drive. Whenever our family traveled between College Station and Houston, Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio to see family, we never hesitated to pick up Aggies in uniform. My grandfather (AMC ’24) and my father (AMC ’46) hitchhiked this way to and from A&M when cars were scarce. Years later, my fiance (TAMU ’69), hitchhiked home to Dallas on Friday night, borrowed his mother’s car, drove back to A&M Saturday morning, took me out on a date Saturday night, drove back to Dallas on Sunday morning and hitchhiked back to A&M on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t know he was doing this until some time later. I did wonder why he never asked me out on a Friday night, though. 😉

    January 17, 2013 at 9:06 am

    • cooper1959

      Hitchhiking was going strong in the early ’60s. I made it home to Texas City in as few as one ride and as many as 20. The express was with the guy who designed our new 1958 high school. I think he also designed the 1969 A&M Consolidate High. Another ride was with the fellow who created Pace picante sauce (and it ain’t from New York City!).

      Hitchhiking etiquette outlawed upstreaming (trying to catch a ride before it got to the hitchhiking line at East Gate). Downstreaming was OK and occasionally someone would pass by the line and then pull over down the road.

      -Jerry Cooper

      January 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

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