SAN ANTONIO FREEWAY HISTORY
Read my essay on San Antonio's freeway history for the Express-News' Tricentennial series
The full history of the freeway system is available on this site
Antonio Area Roads & More
page last updated January 6, 2018
San Antonio is known for having an unusual number of street naming
idiosyncrasies that confound locals and visitors alike. One of those is
that there are three distinct roadways
with "Wurzbach" in their name: Wurzbach
Parkway, and Harry
Road. Here is an explanation of each:
- Wurzbach Road:
This roadway starts at Ingram Road just outside Loop 410 at the main
entrance to Ingram Park Mall. It then runs northeasterly
through the Medical Center, crosses I-10, and ends at Lockhill-Selma
Road where it becomes Wurzbach Parkway.
- Wurzbach Parkway:
Wurzbach Parkway picks-up at Lockhill-Selma Road where Wurzbach Road
it connects to Wurzbach Road, Wurzbach Parkway
is distinctly different from it in that it is a state roadway with
expressway characteristics along much of its route. It
stretches across the North Side and ends at O'Connor Road near I-35. In
conjunction with a stretch of Wurzbach Road, this provides the only
east-west corridor connecting I-35 to I-10 between the loops.
- Harry Wurzbach Road:
This is a completely separate roadway that runs from Loop 410 to Fort
Sam Houston. Since it is its own road, it is important
to remember to call it Harry
Wurzbach; calling it just "Wurzbach" by itself is incorrect and likely
to cause even more confusion. It was originally a much longer road connecting
Fort Sam Houston to Camp Bullis via today's Loop 410 and NW Military.
For more information on that route, see the Which Military?
three roads are named for members of the same family. Many roads in San
Antonio were named for prominent landowners in the area of the road
back in the day. In this case, Wurzbach Road (and,
by extension, Wurzbach Parkway) was named for
William Wurzbach, who
owned a ranch around what is now I-10 and Wurzbach Road. He
built a road
through his property and eventually deeded the road to the
county, which named it after him.
brother, Harry McLeary Wurzbach, was a lawyer and served as one of the
area's congressmen from 1921 until his death in 1931. He also served in
the Texas Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish American War. While in
Congress, he advocated for veterans. For this reason, officials decided
to honor him by naming the new highway built around 1940 to connect Fort
Sam Houston and Camp Bullis after him. It is said that his brother's
family protested the naming because having two roads named "Wurzbach"
would be confusing.
if one set of similarly named roads wasn't enough,
another example of this local phenomenon are the three roads