MMVII
Published by the Texas Transportation Museum, San Antonio
2 CENTS










The History of the Ford Model T in
San Antonio and South Central Texas

Although Fords had been available in San Antonio for year before the introduction of the Model T in 1908, it was this remarkable vehicle that made the company's presence in the city a bricks and mortar reality. Until this time folks wanting to buy the most popular car in America, the Ford Model N, had to order from local agents who then "imported" the cars from brokers, mostly in Houston, or from out of state. To back up his faith in his new product, Henry Ford cancelled all other Models, including the almost $3,000.00 6 cylinder Model K, which was never popular, particularly with Henry Ford himself. He opened factory owned outlets across the country and staffed them with factory trained employees to assemble Ts from crated deliveries, plus sell and service them. The building acquired in San Antonio was at 720 E. Houston, just behind the Alamo. This was demolished to make way for the building that houses the Alamo gift shop in the 1930s. When in due course Ford created a network of independent dealers, the business was acquired by Clifton George. He held the franchise until the mid 1920s when, to finance the nearby Medical Arts building, now the Emily Morgan Hotel, he sold it to Herpel-Gillespie. By 1922 were three other franchises in the city, The Baker Motor Company at 1515 Main Avenue, Morgan-Woodward at 234 South Flores and the Universal car Company at Avenue C and Fourth Street. Herpel-Gillespie moved to a former grocery store building on nearby E. Houston in the mid 1920s. This building still stands though "H-G" had moved to newly created Broadway Avenue before the introduction of the Ford Model A in 1928.
San Antonio Ford buildings near Alamo Plaza
1918 image of the Alamo with the original Ford outlet, now owned by Clifton George. The official address was 720 E. Houston.
1918 image of the Alamo with the original Ford outlet, now owned by Clifton George. The official address was 720 E. Houston. The medical arts building, now the Emily Morgan Hotel, would not begin construction until 1924.
Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, in 1915. Note Ford dealership sign above the Alamo
The original Ford dealership at 720 E. Houston, behind the Alamo, changed hands in the mid 1920s. The original dealer, Clifton George, sold out to Herpel-Gillespie but stayed in the car business for a while
Second location for the original San Antonio Ford dealership still very close to the Alamo
Interior of Herpel-Gillespie Ford's second location for its Ford dealership on East Houston
The original Ford dealership moved away but activities in the building were still automobile related when this picture was taken in the late 1930s
In 1923 another Ford dealership, owned by the Jordan Brothers, took up temporary residence on South Presa Street until its permanent address on South St. Mary's at the three way intersection with South Alamo and Presa was opened in 1924. This operation originally opened in Boerne in 1919, making it the longest continuously operated Ford dealership in San Antonio. (The oldest Ford dealership in Texas, Sames Ford, opened in 1910 in Laredo.) Jordan Ford now occupies a large lot on IH 35 near Loop 1604 in Live Oak.
The first three locations of Jordan Ford, the oldest
continuously operated Ford dealership in San Antonio
Jordan Ford's original location in Boerne, 1919
Jordan Ford's first San Antonio location, a temporary shop on South Presa, 1923
Jordan Ford's long term downtown San Antonio building before moving to IH 35 near 1604 in Live Oak
An old joke about the Model T was that it would take you anywhere you wanted to go, except into society. Back when America was far stricter about social movement than it is today, it is hard to say if getting through the poor roads that dogged South Texas was more difficult for the Model T than not being owned by the right people but as these pictures show, the T was capable of doing well in any situation.
Model Ts took everything in their stride in San Antonio and South Texas
1918 image of the Alamo during the Christmas season
Ford Model T at the Alamo, 1919
Ford Model Ts at San Antonio post office on Alamo Plaza. This building was soon replaced by the current Federal building
Ford Model Ts on Alamo Plaza, circa 1928
Ford Model T at Hot Wells spa resort, San Antonio
Ford Model T outside the San Antonio Chinese school
Ford Model T and extra horse power on "road" to Corpus Christi
Ford Model T on San Antonio's wonderful roads
Ford Model T being rescued from a flood in Medina County
Texas State Highway Department engineer's Ford Model T, inspecting road construction
Two young San Antonio men with their Model T stripped for speed
Ford Model T speedster in San Antonio in the 1920s
Ford Model T in San Antonio in the 1950s
Mr. Steves Ford Model T was donated to the Witte Museum
Ford Model T at the "Central Texas Museum of Automotive History" in Rosanky, Texas. This car is on loan from the Witte Museum. It used to belong to Albert Steves whose house in the King William area was donated to the SA Conservation Society
Headline and image from a 1916 San Antonio newspaper article about SAPD night patrols using automobiles
Street scene near the St, Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, 1927. The hotel is still in business.
Cars, incuding Model Ts, at San Fernando cathedral in San Antonio, circa 1920
The T was both strong and versatile. It transformed how people moved across the landscape, from the Hill Country to brush country to the fertile fields towards the valley. With individual transportation folks in the country could bring their produce into town far more efficiently. Ford himself came from farming stock. He deplored the vast amount of work farmers put in for so little reward. The desire to bring relief and prosperity to what was still very much a rural country was part of his motivation to build not a cheap car but a great car inexpensively.
Ford Model Ts in Bandera
Post Office Ford Model T in Bandera
Ford Model Ts on Main Street, Bandera
Bandera's first motorized fire equipment
Ford Model Ts in Boerne and Comfort
Ford Model T in Comfort. Note window folded in half even though it's winter. Maybe this is why this is why they have no hats, rare for this era.
Sisters from Comfort, E.C. Karger, aged 10, standing and sister, Helen, 9, seated, in 1925. Picture provided by still lively E.C.
Ford Model T and proud family, Comfort, Texas

Ford Model T runabout owned by the Comfort tailor shop.
Ford Model T and family at picnic near Comfort
Ford Model T at a picnic near Boerne
Ford Model Ts in Crystal City
Two Fords at a Crystal City Service Station
Field hands and their Model T "huckster" wagon
Hauling onions near Crystal City, Texas
Hauling onions near Crystal City, Texas
Ford Model T at the Crystal City drug store
Ford Model Ts in Devine, Texas
Ford Model T open tourer in Devine, Texas
Ford Model T doctor's coupe in Devine, Texas
Ford Model T in El Paso
1915 Ford Model T in El Paso
Ford Model T in Falls City
Ford Model T truck in Falls City, Texas
Ford Model Ts in Fowlerton and Charlotte
Model T Ford at the Fowlerton railroad depot
Model T Ford at the Charlotte railroad depot
Ford Model Ts in Kerrville and the Hill Country
HEB Ford Model T delivery truck in Kerrville
Ford Model T depot hack. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. The Peterson Brothers bought this company, changed the name to the Kerrville Bus Company in 1929, which now trades as Coach America
Ford Model T on old Highway 9 (HWY 27) near Kerrville
Ford Model T on HWY 16 near Kerrville
Ford Model T, part of the family
Anyone traveling on early Hill Country roads would make sure to cary extra tires
Enjoying a beverage while driving in the Hill Country in a Ford Model T runabout
Ford Model T in La Coste
Colored family on their farm near La Costein 1918
Ford Model T in Luckenbach
1919 Ford Model T in Luckenbach
Ford Model Ts in Seguin
Ford Model T, and two deer having less than a good day
Ford Model T as farmer's friend, Seguin, Texas. Note headlights are missing.
Ford Model T, five children, one dog, one goat. Seguin, Texas
Seguin Ford Model T stripped for speed
Ford Model T in Sinton
Stripped down Model T racer in Sinton, Texas
Ford Model T in St. Hedwig
1915 Ford Model T in St. Hedwig
Ford Model T trucks in San Antonio

Ford introduced the TT version of the T in 1917, just in time for World War One. Some 400,000 were used by allied forces before the end of the conflict. The vehicles had a longer and stronger wheel base, were more heavily sprung and had a different, reduced ratio, rear end to allow the same four cylinder, 20 HP engine move up to one ton of cargo. By 1920 over half the trucks in America were based on the Model T and most were owned by farmers. Ford sold the cars as rolling chassis. Engine, transmission, fuel tank and steering wheel was just about all you got. San Antonio and surrounding towns had a number of truck outfitters who could make you just about any kind of body you might need. Most Model Ts bought in Texas were built in Dallas. (The plant stayed open until 1970.)
1918 image of Ford Model T delivery trucks operated by Joske's department store in San Antonio
Ford Model TT and an army truck in San Antonio during World War One
Jordan Ford's first San Antonio location, a temporary shop on South Presa, 1923
Ford Model TT and Fordson tractor at Jordan Ford
Newly delivered Ford Model TT truck at Jordan Ford, 1923
Ford Model T flat bed truck. The cab and bed were built by a local San Antonio manufacturer. (See next image) This truck was operated by a San Antonio grave marker supplier
Ford Model T truck finisher's metal tag indicating the cab and bed were built in San Antonio
San Antonio laundry Ford Model T delivery truck
A line up of Model T vans owned by Sunshine Laundry in San Antonio in 1927. The business still operates from the smae location on Flores Street.
Two mid 1920s Ford Model Ts on a San Antonio street during the great depression
San Antonio and Pleasanton Ford Model T related newspaper adverts
Ford Model TT advert with mentions of several Ford dealerships
Ford Model T advert in the Pleasanton newspaper
Ford Model T advert in the Pleasanton newspaper
1916 newspaper advertizing the new location of a local San Antonio Ford dealership
1916 San Antonio newspaper advert for tires
Ford Model T advert in a 1916 San Antonio newspaper

CONTENTS

Front Page

Section A
Section B
Section C
Section D

Published by the T Fords of Texas, San Antonio's Ford Model T Club