Blue Ridge, Houston
Blue Ridge is a community in Houston, Texas, United States that used to be a distinct unincorporated area in northeast Fort Bend County. The community, which was also known as Hobby, is located on a ridge of Oyster Creek, 16 miles (26 km) east of Richmond. The section of Blue Ridge within the Houston City Limits is known as the Fort Bend-Houston Super Neighborhood #41.
The area now known as Blue Ridge was a part of Stephen F. Austin's first colony. The site itself began to be permanently occupied in the late 19th century. As an independent community Blue Ridge did not have any post offices. The W. Allen Robinson family arrived in Blue Ridge in 1894, and in the 1890s the family established a ranch headquarters. Oil was discovered near Blue Ridge in 1919, and a salt mine opened shortly afterwards. In 1925 gas was discovered in the area. As resources were discovered, banks and gambling houses opened and the Handbook of Texas stated that Blue Ridge became a "boomtown". In 1936 the 4,348-acre (1,760 ha) Blue Ridge State Prison Farm incorporated the area, and most Blue Ridge residents were staff members at the facility. Blue Ridge acted as a satellite work camp for the Central Prison Farm.
In 1958 the Texas Department of Corrections voted to sell the prison lands to private developers. The houses were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Parts of the area were annexed by Houston in the early 1970s. The first population figure for the community was of the year 1970, when the community had 50 residents and no businesses.
The Houston Fort Bend Super Neighborhood has its boundaries as Beltway 8, Fondren Road, Hiram Clarke Road, and McHard Road. Its area is almost 8 square miles (21 km2). Many churches of various ethnic groups and religions are supported by the Blue Ridge community. Carol E. Vaughn of the Houston Chronicle said that the 5-acre (2.0 ha) area, before the formation of the super neighborhood, "has considered itself a stepchild of sorts in the past, an area unwittingly passed back and forth between parents." Half of the community has a Missouri City zip code (77489) west of Chimney Rock, which suggest the stepchild status of the community to this present day - a majority of residents still refer to this section as Missouri City even though it is not located inside the Missouri City city limits. Residents who still use the Missouri City designation are known as Missouri City by Choice residents.
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates public bus services.
In 1990 members of the Ridgegate and Briargate subdivisions protested proposed bus services from METRO.
Primary and secondary schools
Blue Ridge is within the Fort Bend Independent School District. The community is within the East Division, controlling school board slots 5 through 7. As of 2008 the board members in the slots are Laurie Caldwell, Steve Smelley, and David Reitz, respectively. As an independent community Blue Ridge did not have any schools.
Zoned schools include:
- Blue Ridge Elementary School
- Briargate Elementary School
- Ridgegate Elementary School
- Ridgemont Elementary School
- Christa McAuliffe Middle School
- Willowridge High School
Blue Ridge Elementary School was occupied in August 1969. Ridgemont was occupied in August 1973. Briargate was occupied in the fall of 1977. Willowridge's phase one began construction in February 1978 and opened in September 1979. Ridgegate was occupied in January 1981. McAuliffe was occupied in the northern hemisphere fall of 1986. Phase two of Willowridge was completed in the summer of 1992.
The Stimley-Blue Ridge Library of the Houston Public Library is located at 7007 West Fuqua in Blue Ridge. In 1997 the library was named after Sherman Stimley, the first African-American law associate of the firm Vinson & Elkins. In 1985 Stimley started the first consulting company exclusively dealing with tax-exempt bond law that was headed by an African-American in Houston.
Parks and recreation
The Blueridge Park, operated by the City of Houston's Parks and Recreation Department, is in Blue Ridge. Fort Bend County operates the Post Oak Park. The 23-acre (93,000 m2) park includes three baseball fields, one concession stand, one softball field, and one toilet facility.
- Blue Ridge, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online - Retrieved on July 17, 2010
- "Texas correctional officer killed in 1936 recognized at memorial ceremony." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. May–June 2007. Retrieved on May 1, 2011.
- Vaughn, Carol E. "Neighborhood councils recognized / Fort Bend to develop identity." Houston Chronicle. Thursday June 20, 2002. ThisWeek 1. Retrieved on October 27, 2011.
- De Mangin, Charles. "Neighborhood charts its course." Houston Chronicle. Thursday November 14, 2002. Retrieved on October 27, 2011.
- City of Houston, Council District Maps, District K." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 5, 2011.
- "City of Houston Council District "D"." City of Houston. April 3, 2003. Retrieved on November 7, 2011.
- Roth, Bennett, "Suburban dream coming to an end?/Ridgegate residents battling buses." Houston Chronicle. Monday April 26, 1990. A11. Retrieved on October 26, 2011.
- "2007-2008 Operating Procedures." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
- "Contacting Your School Board Members." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
- "FBISD History." Fort Bend Independent School District. Retrieved on April 4, 2010.
- "Stimley-Blue Ridge Neighborhood Library." Houston Press. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
- Siegel, Joshua. "Celebrating Black History Month Engineer-turned-lawyer Sherman Stimley." Houston Chronicle. February 9, 2011. Retrieved on July 11, 2011.
- "Our Parks A-F." City of Houston. Retrieved on October 9, 2009.
- "Leased Parks." Fort Bend County. Retrieved on October 11, 2009.