Woodland Heights

HISTORY OF THE WOODLAND HEIGHTS

Woodland Heights was born in 1907 on 106 acres of high ground just north of downtown Houston and White Oak Bayou. Developers were attracted to the area by nearby Woodland Park (then called Highland Park), a popular 30-acre spot with a lake and other amenities that drew visitors from across the city.

From the start, Woodland Heights was envisioned as a special neighborhood with easy access to downtown jobs and shopping.  The William Wilson Realty Company platted the land as a streetcar suburb because of the proximity of Houston Electric Company public transportation.  Streetcars ran through the neighborhood until bus service was introduced in 1939. 

Making a Neighborhood

To ensure Woodland Heights? success, its developers incorporated elements they deemed essential to a viable modern neighborhood, including water piped into every house, sewers, cement sidewalks, graded streets, shrubs, trees and parks.  Gate piers at Bayland and Houston Avenues marked the entrance.  Bayland itself is a prime example of the importance the William Wilson Realty Company placed on green spaces.  The street was lined with oak and sycamore trees that were watered regularly by horse-drawn water wagons until they were established early in the century.  Now the trees are eye-catching canopies that curve over the avenue.

The developers also provided for education in the community by deeding land to the single-room Beauchamp Springs Public School, giving it a permanent home in 1909.  The building, which became the William B. Travis Elementary School, underwent major renovation in 2005 focused on preserving the original brick structure.

In October 1907, Woodland Heights? boundaries were Omar to the north, Julian on the west, Houston Avenue to the east, and White Oak Avenue (today?s Byrne) on the south.  The 35-acre Bayland Orphanage compound, originally intended for orphans of Civil War veterans, started at Julian and Bayland.  This was the western border of the Woodland Heights until fire destroyed the orphanage building in 1914, the institution relocated near Bellaire, and the land became part of the Woodland Heights.  Bayland Avenue is named for the orphanage.

Today, the neighborhood encompasses approximately 2,000 homes in 61 different developments that range from a few houses to several hundred.  Some of the major sections beyond the original neighborhood boundaries are Highland Park, Woodland Heights Annex, Grota Homestead, Norhill, Woodland Terrace and Willborg.  Current boundaries are Pecore Street on the north, Studewood Street to the west, Interstate 45 on the east and Interstate 10 to the south.

Information from: http://www.woodland-heights.org/history.htm

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