Boulevard Service

Speaking of transportation along Main Street, one of the odder ways students managed to get from one place to another was a quasi-official institution referred to by all as Boulevard Service. This was essentially a loosely organized sort of hitch-hiking wherein those needing to get to town stood, sometimes in a line, along the median of Main Street Boulevard and begged rides from passersby. (They also came from town to school but I’m less clear on what spots were commonly used for pick up.) Boulevard service lasted for a long time but its heyday was the 1920s. This snippet from the 1925 YMCA Freshman Guide lays out the basics of the deal:

The whole thing is really fascinating, especially the willingness of so many strangers to drive these kids around. This piece from the 1922 Thresher reprints a Post editorial that urged Houstonians to give Rice students rides:

And note that at the end the Thresher urged Rice students to show good manners and gratitude to the folks who picked them up. What did the students think? This, from the 1923 Campanile:

Bonus: I love stuff like this. It is, naturally, taped to the door.

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5 Responses to Boulevard Service

  1. joecwhite says:

    […]along the median of Rice Boulevard[..].
    I think you meant Main Street, as mentioned in the Thresher article.

  2. Rachel Dvoretzky says:

    What a fine post in every way!

  3. Steve Lukingbeal---Hanszen 1976 says:

    Hitch hiking from strangers used to be an extremely common and honorable form of transportation. Until the Dean Corll/Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. mass murders in Houston in 1974 which pretty much ruined it in Houston and the rest of the country as well.

    • Mark Williamson says:

      The killings were in 1972 and 1973. According to a Chronicle article, “Henley fatally shot Corll at his Pasadena home in August 1973.”

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