The St. Mary's Strip

History Project


Once a thoroughfare linking downtown to north San Antonio, the 2300-3100 blocks of North St. Mary’s (formally known as Jones Ave. and Rock Quarry Road) were lined with grocers, dry cleaners, pharmacies, mechanics, and the like to serve passers-by and neighboring Tobin Hill and Belmont Place (the River Road neighborhood).  The controversial construction of the North Expressway severed this artery and businesses folded.  

During this time, investors such as Hap Veltman (primarily known for San Antonio Country and the Bonham Exchange) began buying up real estate on these blocks with the later intention of turning it into an entertainment district.  In 1983 several restaurants opened up that would officially change the make-up of the street.  Some of these were the St. Mary’s Bar and Grill, Nona’s, Tycoon Flats, Pearl Oyster Co.

By 1985, the St. Mary’s Strip was in full motion as a destination for Roots music and nightlife.  But it's never been without its problems. The strip’s relationship with its residential neighbors has always been complicated as the two have struggled to find balance to coexist.

The St. Mary’s Strip History Project aims to tell this collective community story - of the residents, musicians and artists, business owners and staff, and patrons of the entertainment district.  Through use of oral history interviewing, storytelling, and digital exhibit creation with images, audiovisual media, and ephemera, the project seeks to document  the St. Mary’s strip’s complex history and how it has shaped and been shaped by the city of San Antonio. While primarily focusing on the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the project will also explore the street’s earlier history and aims to act as a resource for the future.

Interested?  We could use your help!  We are interested in speaking to anyone and everyone about their experience with  and memorabilia from the St. Mary's Strip. Visit it our Gathering History page to learn more.


Contact to get more information on the project.