Houston Heights (also known as “The Heights”) is a neighborhood in northwest-central Houston, Texas, United States. “The Heights” is a colloquial term for a larger collection of neighborhoods adjacent to and including the actual Houston Heights. Houston Heights, on the other hand, has a distinct history from Norhill and Woodland Heights.
Houston Heights, one of Texas’s first planned communities, is located 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) northwest of Downtown Houston. According to the National Geographic, “stroll the area’s broad, tree-canopied esplanades and side streets dotted with homes dating from the early 1900s and you might think you’ve landed in a small town.” In 2011, John Nova Lomax described the Heights as “Houston’s own mini-Austin,” with many “low-key” restaurants and beer gardens. According to the Houston Heights Association, the Heights is bounded on the south by Interstate 10, on the west by North Shepherd Drive, on the north by Interstate 610, and on the east by North Main and Studewood Streets.
According to a study conducted by the University of Houston Institute of Regional Forecasting and Crawford Realty Advisors, single-family house prices increased by 8.7 percent between 2002 and 2003. The Heights was described by James Conaway of Texas Monthly in 1976 as a “seedy, lower-middle-class enclave with horizons limited to once-fashionable homes divided into low-rent apartments, and guarded by pickups on concrete blocks.”
Oscar Martin Carter arrived in Houston in 1886 and, by 1891, had established the Omaha and South Texas Land Company with a group of investors. The company paid $500,000 US dollars for 1,756 acres (7.11 km2) of land and infrastructure, including streets, alleys, parks, schools, and utilities. When Houston Heights was founded, it was a streetcar suburb of Houston that drew people who did not want to live in the city’s dense population. It had its own municipality, which was founded on July 1, 1896. William G. Love was the Heights’ first mayor. According to the 1900 U.S. Census, the Heights had a population of approximately 800 people. Because the city government was having difficulty collecting enough taxes, the community decided to be annexed, and the Heights were annexed by the City of Houston in 1919. Following World War II, industrial interests relocated to Houston Heights.
Alan Bernstein described political support for Jim Westmoreland, an incumbent in an at-large position, in Houston Heights as “relatively weak” in a 1989 Houston Chronicle article. In one precinct, 49.4 percent of voters supported him. Westmoreland sparked outrage after word spread about a “racist” joke he told. Westmoreland was defeated in that race by Beverley Clark, the opponent, and a Black teacher. Bernstein stated that the presence of significant racial minority groups, as well as the “social tolerance” trait, may have contributed to the backlash against him. Randy Cypret, president of the Houston Heights Association, stated in a 1989 Houston Chronicle article that the split vote from Houston Heights may reflect ethnic division. Cypret added that the opposition could be attributed to Westmoreland’s lack of political presence in Houston Heights, as well as a lack of advocacy for zoning-related issues. Cypret stated that he was opposed to Westmoreland because “he considers being on the city council a part-time job.” You should take your job more seriously in the country’s fourth-largest city.”
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