Neighborhoods Midtown Houston
Midtown Houston is one of the city’s most historic areas. Well established by the mid-nineteenth-century, Midtown is a living chronicle of Houston’s past from ante bellum days to the revitalization of today.
Midtown refers to the neighborhoods south and west of downtown, east of Montrose Boulevard, and north of Interstate 59. One of the most historic is the old Fourth Ward, dubbed Freedmen’s Town. After the Civil War, the Fourth Ward was one of very few places in Houston where black people could own property. Freed slaves built shotgun cottages and moved in. Now a nationally registered historic site, many of their descendents still live there. In its heyday in the 1920’s and -30’s, Fourth Ward was Houston’s Harlem, with jazz clubs and restaurants lining Dallas street. Some of the cottages remain, along with a few brick-paved streets, but many valuable structures were lost when the area declined from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. Further south, the neighborhoods of Westmoreland, Courtlandt Place and Avondale were the River Oaks of their day, where turn-of-the-20th-century lumber, cotton and oil barons built spacious mansions on tree-lined streets. In the 21st-century, these neighborhoods, along with the old Fourth Ward, are again considered some of the city’s most desirable areas in which to live. Their proximity to downtown and established “look” are drawing people from far-flung suburbs.
In 1994, Midtown was officially declared a Tax Increment Finance District (TIFC), opening the area to renovation and development. Today, many remaining historic structures are protected, sharing brick-paved streets with architecturally cutting-edge townhouses and sophisticated low-rise lofts. The population is diverse, and includes long-time residents, young professionals, empty nesters, students, and academics. Home prices range from the high $100,000s into the millions.
Midtown is home to wonderful restaurants, from humble barbeque joints to some of the city’s most elegant purveyors of continental cuisine. New upscale retail shopping abounds, sharing space with the established shops of some of Houston’s finest traditional tradesmen. The new light rail system links Midtown with downtown, the Medical Center and the Astrodome complex.
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