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Independence Heights


TAK

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If you travel north of the North Loop on Yale, to your left is Garden Oaks, to your right is Independence Heights.

Other than the difference between the houses, residents, and incomes that are there right now, what is the difference that makes Indepence Heights "across the tracks"? It is quite close to the Heights, Garden Oaks, etc... what's the deal here?

and why is it that Garden Oaks gets a sound wall from 610, but the less affluent neighborhood doesn't? Did Garden Oaks pay for that wall (i don't think so). Do poor people like the sound of 610? (i don't think so).

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If you travel north of the North Loop on Yale, to your left is Garden Oaks, to your right is Independence Heights.

Other than the difference between the houses, residents, and incomes that are there right now, what is the difference that makes Indepence Heights "across the tracks"? It is quite close to the Heights, Garden Oaks, etc... what's the deal here?

and why is it that Garden Oaks gets a sound wall from 610, but the less affluent neighborhood doesn't? Did Garden Oaks pay for that wall (i don't think so). Do poor people like the sound of 610? (i don't think so).

Garden Oaks probably organized a committee to get the wall put in and whined a lot. That's how things get done. If I lived in Independence Heights, I'd start making noise to the city...

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Garden Oaks probably organized a committee to get the wall put in and whined a lot. That's how things get done. If I lived in Independence Heights, I'd start making noise to the city...

I don't know if that's how the wall got put up, but I can say for certain that GO has many first class whiners....

Did Garden Oaks pay for that wall (i don't think so).

Of course they did. They pay a whole lot more in taxes than the poor people.

Edited by jm1fd
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Independence Heights' location is a very interesting dynamic. It sits adjointedly to Garden Oaks. In fact, all that really seperates the two is Yale. I don't know if yuppie-ism will take over parts of Independence Heights, but it is decidedly one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

The question I have is do you think its location is a result of the city's annexation history or the city's lack of zoning history?

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Independence Heights' location is a very interesting dynamic. It sits adjointedly to Garden Oaks. In fact, all that really seperates the two is Yale. I don't know if yuppie-ism will take over parts of Independence Heights, but it is decidedly one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

The question I have is do you think its location is a result of the city's annexation history or the city's lack of zoning history?

if you don't know the history of Independence Heights, here is a summary from the Handbook of Texas:

INDEPENDENCE HEIGHTS, TEXAS. Independence Heights was originally northeast of Houston in an area now within the Houston city limits, bounded on the south by Thirtieth Avenue, on the north by Fortieth Avenue, on the west by Yale Street, and on the east by Airline Drive in Harris County. The Wright Land Company secured the land, incorporated in 1910, and developed a new community for blacks. By doing their own financing they made it possible for people with small incomes to become homeowners. Resident contractors built most of the houses and churches. Independence Heights incorporated on January 25, 1915, when it had a population of 600. G. O. Burgess was the first mayor. The Houston Informer was the city newspaper. The Independence Heights School was established in 1911, and O. L. Hubbard was its first teacher. Churches organized while Independence Heights was a separate city were the New Hope Missionary Baptist, the Green Chapel African Methodist Episcopal, the St. Paul Colored Methodist Episcopal, the Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal, the Concord Missionary Baptist, and the North Main Church of God in Christ. Businesses included a cooperative store, grocery stores, cafes, and contractors. Some residents were employed in Houston, in Houston Heights, and in other areas. In 1920 Independence Heights had a population of 715. According to the Houston Post dated January 17, 1915, it was the first incorporated black city in Texas. In 1989 a Texas Historical Commissionqv marker was placed on the grounds of Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to mark the city site. In November 1928 Independence Heights residents voted to dissolve the city's incorporation because of their desire to become a part of Houston. The area was annexed to Houston on December 26, 1929.

i found this nice piece on Independence Heights on the Rice website:

http://indepheights.rice.edu/

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Most of the Third Ward isn't ghetto. There are huge mansions in Riverside Terrace and brick bungalows and traditional two stories in Washington Terrace, Binz, and a few other hoods that would make West U jealous. There have always been solid middle to upper middle class families that OWN in the Third Ward.

Of course, most folks see black people and just assume ghetto or they just assume that everything in the Third Ward must look like what they see when they drive to UH or TSU from I-45. That part is due to SLUM LORDS.

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Most of the Third Ward isn't ghetto. There are huge mansions in Riverside Terrace and brick bungalows and traditional two stories in Washington Terrace, Binz, and a few other hoods that would make West U jealous. There have always been solid middle to upper middle class families that OWN in the Third Ward.

Of course, most folks see black people and just assume ghetto or they just assume that everything in the Third Ward must look like what they see when they drive to UH or TSU from I-45. That part is due to SLUM LORDS.

BINGO!! Third Ward has more wealth than some people realize......

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i need to go look around Independence Heights... maybe buppyism can help nice the place up AND keep it affordable. ;-)

that info about Independence Heights is awesome. that type of history is worth trying to preserve, and by preserve i don't mean kick out all of the poor people, knockdown all of the houses, put up something that cost twice the median house price, and then change the name of the neighborhood to attract more money.

but then again, Independence Heights is a pretty cool name, so it probably wouldn't be changed.

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Guest danax
i need to go look around Independence Heights... maybe buppyism can help nice the place up AND keep it affordable. ;-)

that info about Independence Heights is awesome. that type of history is worth trying to preserve, and by preserve i don't mean kick out all of the poor people, knockdown all of the houses, put up something that cost twice the median house price, and then change the name of the neighborhood to attract more money.

but then again, Independence Heights is a pretty cool name, so it probably wouldn't be changed.

The problem with that area is that the homes are poor-people homes, meaning no one is likely going to want to live in them, restored or not, unless they can't afford anything else. So regardless of the variety of yuppie, the result will likely be the same; gentrification/teardown at some point.

If the Houston black community is interested in preserving at least some of it as a historic black area, then maybe they should be buying the land piece by piece preparing for the redevelopment and price increases that will happen.

It's just really hard to try to artificially keep an area low-income/affordable when the location becomes desirable, especially in Houston.

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The problem with that area is that the homes are poor-people homes, meaning no one is likely going to want to live in them, restored or not, unless they can't afford anything else. So regardless of the variety of yuppie, the result will likely be the same; gentrification/teardown at some point.

If the Houston black community is interested in preserving at least some of it as a historic black area, then maybe they should be buying the land piece by piece preparing for the redevelopment and price increases that will happen.

It's just really hard to try to artificially keep an area low-income/affordable when the location becomes desirable, especially in Houston.

I agree. It is really hard to keep the so called charm of poorer neighborhoods in practically ANY city while keeping it affordable. What typically happens is that the charm is restored but at the price of rising property values, ambituous developers/realtors and a new wave of inclined buyers who look to make drastic improvements to the original structures. Thus, the homes appreciate, the property becomes too valuable for a low income home owner to maintain and they move.

It's what's basically happened to 4th Ward.

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Most of the Third Ward isn't ghetto. There are huge mansions in Riverside Terrace and brick bungalows and traditional two stories in Washington Terrace, Binz, and a few other hoods that would make West U jealous. There have always been solid middle to upper middle class families that OWN in the Third Ward.

On what grounds are you convincing yourself that Washington and Riverside Terraces are part of the third ward? They're totally separate subdivisions, with different layouts, built for different income groups. The Heights doesn't call itself the sixth ward, and Rice Miltary doesn't proclaim itself as the first ward.

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On what grounds are you convincing yourself that Washington and Riverside Terraces are part of the third ward? They're totally separate subdivisions, with different layouts, built for different income groups. The Heights doesn't call itself the sixth ward, and Rice Miltary doesn't proclaim itself as the first ward.

Your first mistake is thinking that the wards are restricted only to areas with certain income levels and home sizes.

The "wards" don't refer to certain subdivisions, but to the original political districts of Houston. The "ward" system was in place until 1906. Even though the wards are no longer active political districts, we still refer to the original areas as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th wards.

According to the original political boundaries, Houston was divided into 4 quadrants by Main Street and Congress Ave. The "northern" quadrant was the 1st Ward, the eastern is the 2nd, southern is the 3rd, and western is the 4th ward. The 5th and 6th wards were separate areas to the northeast and west of town, respectively.

As far as the Heights goes, it was its own municipality, separate and apart from Houston, and wasn't annexed in until 1918, so it was never part of the original "wards". Same with Rice Military...historically and geographically it wasn't part of the wards.

Technically speaking, Riverside Terrace and Washington Terrace were not "Third Ward", since the ward system was disbanded (1906) before they were built (1920's). However, geographically, the Terraces ABSOLUTELY are part of the Third Ward. You don't pick and choose where Third Ward is based on income or the size of the house, despite what many in the "Museum District" choose to think. It's funny that what is now called the Museum District was referred to (correctly, by the way) as the Third Ward just 10 years ago. I guess as white people moved in, no one wanted the 3rd Ward moniker! Funny, it was 3rd Ward when the wealthy Jews built it and lived there, but today there's a negative associated with the wards in some peoples' minds.

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If you travel north of the North Loop on Yale, to your left is Garden Oaks, to your right is Independence Heights.

Other than the difference between the houses, residents, and incomes that are there right now, what is the difference that makes Indepence Heights "across the tracks"? It is quite close to the Heights, Garden Oaks, etc... what's the deal here?

and why is it that Garden Oaks gets a sound wall from 610, but the less affluent neighborhood doesn't? Did Garden Oaks pay for that wall (i don't think so). Do poor people like the sound of 610? (i don't think so).

No its because they can't put the pipe down in I.H.

Its a crack controlled hood.

Creep by cortlandt and 32nd, them boys are out there hustlin 24 hours a day. . .

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if I.H. is crack controlled, then it's just a matter of time before it gets cleaned out... that real estate is too prime for crackheads to keep control of, and i'm guessing the dealers will move north of BTW.

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Crack, meth, whores, poverty, unemployment, lack of self-respect and disregard for the surroundings and it's residents. They all go hand in hand. Sit with me on my porch here on N Main any afternoon and watch the parade pass by.

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Your first mistake is thinking that the wards are restricted only to areas with certain income levels and home sizes.

Why is that such a mistake? The intended original income strata for which something was platted and restricted determines numerous attributes about the area such as lot size, layout, and types and quality of construction, all of which are attributes which overwhelmingly define the character of the neighborhood.

Technically speaking, Riverside Terrace and Washington Terrace were not "Third Ward", since the ward system was disbanded (1906) before they were built (1920's).
Technically nothing. The 3rd ward encompasses whatever streets were laid out when the ward system was disbanded in 1906. That's how all the other wards in town are defined. Anything subsequent to that point was named something else.
However, geographically, the Terraces ABSOLUTELY are part of the Third Ward.

Well, if geography is the defining criteria, then I don't see the need for more than one category, since geography is defined as the physical features of an area, and the physical feature of Houston consists of...well....FLAT. I suppose you could have two geographical areas...one for the more southerly area of town, with costal plains, and then another area comprised of the coastal forests found on the north side of town.

Edited by jm1fd
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if I.H. is crack controlled, then it's just a matter of time before it gets cleaned out... that real estate is too prime for crackheads to keep control of, and i'm guessing the dealers will move north of BTW.

The dealers live in I.H.

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What makes you think Washington Terrace and Riverside Terrace aren't a part of the Greater Third Ward?

I think they are because...

1) Most of the old timers will gladly tell you that's where they live

2) The majority of the "Third Ward is Not For Sale" signs are located in the Terraces area

3) Each easily falls withing the technical definition of Third Ward (East of Main and South of Congress)

4) Dowling Street was the Third Ward's "main street" and it runs right through Washington Terrace

5) Texas Southern University considers them to be a part of the greater ward (www.tsu.edu/about/community/ward.asp)

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What makes you think Washington Terrace and Riverside Terrace aren't a part of the Greater Third Ward?

I think they are because...

1) Most of the old timers will gladly tell you that's where they live

2) The majority of the "Third Ward is Not For Sale" signs are located in the Terraces area

3) Each easily falls withing the technical definition of Third Ward (East of Main and South of Congress)

4) Dowling Street was the Third Ward's "main street" and it runs right through Washington Terrace

5) Texas Southern University considers them to be a part of the greater ward (www.tsu.edu/about/community/ward.asp)

Although I could really care less about the true designation because 3rd Ward is just what people call it (even down in Sunnyside), and that's fine by me...but the technical definition stops at the city's historical city limits. I don't know where those were, but that'd be the deciding factor.

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Although I could really care less about the true designation because 3rd Ward is just what people call it (even down in Sunnyside), and that's fine by me...but the technical definition stops at the city's historical city limits. I don't know where those were, but that'd be the deciding factor.

According to this 1913 City of Houston map, the southern city limits went right through the intersection of Dowling and Holman, and through the intersection of Almeda and Cleburne.

At least part of Washington Terrace was in the 3rd Ward, before the ward system was changed.

That being said, for the last hundred years, Washington Terrace has been referred to as 3rd Ward.

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One of the big problems with I.H and one that has limited growth/rebirth/gentrification is that it floods like crazy, especially the eastern ends.

Flood control is looking to rework where the bayou's flow is restricted by 610 and 45 but i don't know the schedule for implementation. Likewise, the mayor has talked alot about infrastructure investment in that area but so far that has been all talk.

It's some of the cheapest dirt available that is close to downtown. It has some interesting history. Unfortunatley, very few of the original structures are habitable if they exist at all. Look at the GIMS map for tax delinquency and vacant lots for more info.

Edited by jgs1419
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One of the big problems with I.H and one that has limited growth/rebirth/gentrification is that it floods like crazy, especially the eastern ends.

Flood control is looking to rework where the bayou's flow is restricted by 610 and 45 but i don't know the schedule for implementation. Likewise, the mayor has talked alot about infrastructure investment in that area but so far that has been all talk.

It's some of the cheapest dirt available that is close to downtown. It has some interesting history. Unfortunatley, very few of the original structures are habitable if they exist at all. Look at the GIMS map for tax delinquency and vacant lots for more info.

I live adjacent and have never known it to flood.

B)

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I.H. isn't really that ghetto compared to 3rd ward and 5th ward. ____, crack dealers are in every hood.

But it still remains a haven for drugs and prostitution therefore it is a deterent to redevelopment-not something I'm inclined to let continue to fester considering it is at my backdoor.

B)

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I.H. isn't really that ghetto compared to 3rd ward and 5th ward. ____, crack dealers are in every hood.

Next time you're heading north on Yale or Main, take a turn off into the neighborhood. Its not as nice as you think.

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Sooner or later, it will be taken over by yuppies. Basically anything close to downtown will be a reflection of what its midtown. Just take a look at EAST END...is slowly developing into another Midtown.

In my own personal opinion, i don't really dig the new townhomes...they look very "cheap" made. I would rather want for homeowners to restore old buildings (like the old firehouse from another thread) around the houston area and turn them into lofts...now that would keep the history of Houston from vanishing.

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ih is 'outside the loop' tho... other than uptown, i haven't seen many townhomes outside the loop...

i'd think independence heights would end up being homes like heights and shady acres (minus the townhomes)... no yard, but not a townhouse per se...

but then again, if i bought it, i'd probably build 'affordable' MFHs and sell/lease.

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I live adjacent and have never known it to flood.

B)

Generally, everything north of 610 to Crosstimbers and west of 45 to Airline is in the 100 year flood plain. West of Airline to North Main is in "Zone X". The flood plain south of the Loop is limted to an area around 29th and Airline. Look at the map for more info. (www.tsarp.org).

Many of the lots in IH are vacant because the owners were flooded out, had no insurance and couldn't afford to rebuild. If you look at the tax delinquency rate in IH, it is sky high. There are two or three properites in the Harris County Tax sale every month.

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  • 1 month later...
On what grounds are you convincing yourself that Washington and Riverside Terraces are part of the third ward? They're totally separate subdivisions, with different layouts, built for different income groups. The Heights doesn't call itself the sixth ward, and Rice Miltary doesn't proclaim itself as the first ward.

We forget that the "wards" were the precursor to what we now call "city counsel districts" and each ward contained several "neighborhoods" and "sub-divisions".

We ususally use the term "ward" in it's historical sense. As I recall, there were at least six wards prior to the "change" in city governemnt.

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So what's the consensus? Is now the time to start investing in IH?

Anybody got an idea of what lot values are up there? HAR only has one documented sale this year ($5.50psf) and everything else is between $2.25 and $2.75.

If its all the same, I'd rather go with Central Park or Magnolia Park than IH. At least most of the East End doesn't flood.

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  • 6 months later...

With the Heights being outrageously overpriced for the world's smallest house...how long before the area known as Studewood off North Main north of 610 gets serious consideration from developers?

The area features great access and is nothing but alot of churches and older homes and the kids aren't returning to settle in the area and the older residents are getting up in age.

Do you think the area will shift since right across the freeway it's a boom? Is it time to start looking for land close to 610 hope for a nice profit?

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With the Heights being outrageously overpriced for the world's smallest house...how long before the area known as Studewood off North Main north of 610 gets serious consideration from developers?

The area features great access and is nothing but alot of churches and older homes and the kids aren't returning to settle in the area and the older residents are getting up in age.

Do you think the area will shift since right across the freeway it's a boom? Is it time to start looking for land close to 610 hope for a nice profit?

That area is Independence Heights-not Studewood. It's very historic but parts are very scarey at the same time. Alot of artists are relocating to the northern portions, however.

indhtsmaps.jpgindependence.gif

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http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online...es/II/hri7.html

Independence Heights used to be its own city - It was later annexed into Houston.

...was the first African-American town incorporated in Texas, a town with a disappearing history.

http://indepheights.rice.edu/about.htm

There are tax advantages to investing in the original Independence Heights-see my map in post #3-but if the disadvantages appear to outweigh the advantages, then actual developement will be a long time in coming. As an investor, I would advise buying raw land and holding it for the time being if you can afford it. We live just south of IH and note that while it hasn't increased in desirabilty, it has not decreased. Like hbcu stated, it is in a great location and is prime for redevelopment in the near future.

Edited by nmainguy
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