Centennial video series: The Rice Trolley

Shortly before the Rice Institute opened in 1912, the Houston Electric Company approved $75,000 for additional rail to extend its existing trolley line down Main Street to connect the new campus with downtown Houston. The Rice Trolley was the main artery for faculty and staff who wanted to connect with the rest of the city. After the automobile boom of the 1920s, the line wasn’t needed any longer, and the rail was dug up. Today, the Houston METRORail serves Houston and gives Rice students, faculty and staff convenient access to downtown and other areas north and south of campus. The METRORail Rice University stop is almost exactly where the Rice Trolley stop was nearly 100 years ago.

Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a ride back to the early 1900s and the Rice Trolley. To learn more about Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.

To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.

The video, available on YouTube here, is also available to media in high quality and without music for editing purposes. For higher-quality video, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.


Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.