The land of cowboys and railroads
The San Antonio and Aransas Pass depot was in use from 1886 until WWI.
1870-1889In the 1870s, when cattle drives originated in Texas and ended in Midwestern markets, San Pedro Creek became a major staging area. Cowboys wrangled the large herds into holding pens west of the creek, and much trading and shipment took place.
Then, when the International and Great Northern Railroad (I&GN) station was completed in 1881, growth really took off. The station was located several blocks west of the creek at the intersection of Commerce and Medina streets. It quickly became the town’s main shipping point for freight—not just cattle being sent to Midwestern meat-packing houses. Once that happened, it became clear that the area needed efficient public transportation. Both the Dolorosa/Buena Vista right-of-way and streetcar lines were extended to the station. In turn, this moved the business and population further from San Pedro Creek.
The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad (SAP) arrived in 1885. Its tracks traversed former agricultural fields that had been farmed since the Spanish colonial era. Then, in 1889, Texas ranchers decided to improve shipping routes by moving them away from the city’s congestion. They established the San Antonio Stock Yards Company (later named the Union Stock Yards of San Antonio). They chose a site on the west bank of San Pedro Creek. It was at the junction of the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio (later part of Southern Pacific) and I&GN tracks. It wasn’t long before the stockyards became the main receiving point for shipment of cattle to San Antonio from South Texas. In fact, by the time 1950 rolled around, the stockyard was still the state’s largest cattle market. Meanwhile, San Pedro Creek just kept flowing along, contributing to the history and progress being made.