Riverside Terrace, Houston
Riverside Terrace is a neighborhood in Houston, Texas, United States. The neighborhood is bounded by Almeda, North MacGregor, Scott, and Wheeler. The community, formerly a Jewish neighborhood, is now a predominantly African American neighborhood. It has been undergoing a gradual change in demographics due to gentrification and revitalization efforts since the early 2000s.
Jewish families moved to Riverside Terrace in the 1930s since they were not allowed to settle in River Oaks. Allison Wollam of the Houston Business Journal stated that, at one point, Riverside Terrace "was once on the same affluent level as the swanky River Oaks area." During that period the neighborhood hosted the houses of the prominent Weingarten, Finger, and McGregor families.
In 1952, a wealthy African-American cattleman named Jack Caesar moved to the neighborhood. He stayed despite the fact that a bomb detonated on his front porch. In 1959, land clearance began for the construction of the new Texas State Highway 288 freeway, destroying several Riverside Terrace houses. Although Caesar's home was in the path of the freeway, it was moved to another location south of Houston. Many White families left Riverside Terrace and settled in suburbs. In the 1960s some Whites who wanted the neighborhood to stabilize as an integrated neighborhood posted signs stating "This Is Our Home It Is Not For Sale." Societal pressure and pressure from real estate agents who wanted to sell expensive homes to Black families pressed upon the remaining White and Jewish homeowners. In the spring of 1963 the South Macgregor Promotion Committee formed. It says that it placed the "not for sale" not because it was against African Americans moving in, but because it wanted to prevent block busting. African-American and civil rights figures backed the "not for sale" campaign. In 1963 the community had 175 African American families. They backed the campaign since they believed it would prevent the community from becoming a ghetto. Housing prices declined steadily around the 1960s. The South Macgregor group, which had no black members in 1963, and African-American leaders met and decided that a ratio of between 65-85% White and 15-35% Black would be beneficial to members of both racial groups.
Wealthy African-American doctors, lawyers, politicians, and university professors moved into Riverside Terrace. As time progressed foreclosure and neglect lead to neglect of several mansions. Jon Schwartz, creator of the 1985 documentary, This Is Our Home It Is Not For Sale, a film documenting Riverside Terrace, states that the neighborhood stabilized after 1970. Riverside Terrace house sales did not follow the general housing slump in the United States of the late 2000s. The late 2000s has also seen gay couples and families moving into Riverside Terrace to improve formerly derelict mansions, though many houses remained neglected and abandoned. Recent improvements include re-development of hike and bike trails along Braes Bayou, aesthetic improvements to Almeda Road (including brick pavement and decorative street lighting), as well as renovation and modernization of some notable older homes.
Riverside Terrace is in proximity to the intersection of South MacGregor Way and Texas State Highway 288. It is east of the Texas Medical Center and Hermann Park, and south of Interstate 45 (Gulf Freeway). Riverside Terrace is about 3 miles (4.8 km) from Downtown Houston. Shad Bogany of Bogany Properties said in 2002 that "What sells Riverside Terrace is strictly location. You're close to everything - the Medical Center, Astrodome, museums, universities."
Riverside Terrace is bounded by Scott Street, North MacGregor, Almeda Road, and Wheeler Street. It has 1,315 houses, which range from 2,000 square feet (190 m2) to 6,000 square feet (560 m2). Many houses use the Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern architectural styles. Many styles of houses in Riverside Terrace include those developed by John Chase, John Staub, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 2002 Katherine Feser of the Houston Chronicle said "Today, the homes in Riverside Terrace are as diverse as the characters that shaped its history." As of 2002 many houses have burglar bars. Feser said in 2002 that "[m]any homes have been refurbished but chipping paint blemishes several of the beautiful old brick homes." Lot sizes range up to 2 acres (0.81 ha), while some lots are small. As of 2002 Riverside Terrace houses were priced from $30,000 ($39,000 in today's money) to $1 million ($1.3 million in today's money). In 2004 some properties in Riverside Terrace sold for below $200,000 ($250,000 in current money), but real estate listings had scarcity. William Tadlock, a real estate agent with Swilley Hudson of Coldwell Banker, said "[p]eople are realizing the proximity to downtown and the Medical Center and are considering moving over there."
Residents of Riverside Terrace include athletes, politicians, teachers, and other professionals. Sheila Jackson Lee, a U.S. congressperson, said that Riverside Terrace has "a real potpourri of people that like inner city living in a beautiful neighborhood." She added that Riverside Terrace is "a great neighborhood for children."
Government and infrastructure
Primary and secondary schools
As of 2002 many residents attend private schools and magnet programs in public schools.
Zoned elementary schools serving portions of Riverside Terrace include Lockhart in Riverside Terrace, MacGregor outside of Riverside Terrace, and Poe outside of Riverside Terrace. All area residents are zoned to Ryan Middle School. Most residents are zoned to Yates High School in the Third Ward, while some are zoned to Lamar High School in Upper Kirby.
Turner, a school which was in Riverside Terrace, closed in 2009 and was consolidated into Lockhart. By Spring 2011 a new campus will be built on the Turner site.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Houston operates area Roman Catholic private schools. St. Mary of the Purification School (Kindergarten through grade 5) and St. Peter the Apostle Middle School (grades 6 through 8), are in the area.
St. Mary, located in the Riverside Terrace area, opened in a temporary building on September 8, 1930. The building was blessed on October 27. The Sisters of Dominic operated the school until it closed in 1967. The school reopened in 1980 as a Montessori school.
Parks and recreation
MacGregor Park is located in the area.
- Carl Lewis - former Olympic Track Star
- Sheila Jackson-Lee - Resident since 1979
- Vivian Elizabeth Ayers (mother of Phylicia Rashād and Debbie Allen)
- Melanie Lawson - KTRK-TV news anchor
- Beyonce (childhood neighborhood)
- Acres Homes, Houston
- Bordersville, Houston
- Clinton Park, Houston
- Fifth Ward, Houston
- Fourth Ward, Houston
- History of the African-Americans in Houston
- History of the Jews in Houston
- Feser, Katherine. "Much history flows through Riverside." Houston Chronicle. July 9, 2002. Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
- Wollam, Allison. "Riverside Terrace bucks housing slowdown." Houston Business Journal. August 15, 2008. Retrieved on April 18, 2009. "It’s becoming common practice for homes in the Riverside Terrace area — a historic Inner-Loop neighborhood bounded by Scott, North MacGregor, Almeda and Wheeler[...]"
- Schilcutt, Katharine. "Houston 101: The Forgotten Mansions of Riverside Terrace." Houston Press. Friday August 28, 2009. Retrieved on September 8, 2009.
- Morgan, Frank. "Houston Whites Act To Avoid Selling Panic As as Area Integrates."(sic) The Wall Street Journal. August 19, 1964. Retrieved on November 27, 2011.
- Kearney, Syd. A Marmac Guide to Houston and Galveston. Pelican Publishing, March 1, 2009. p. 222. Retrieved from Google Books on October 21, 2012. ISBN 1589805488, 9781589805484. "South of the Gulf Freeway is Riverside Terrace, with both Texas Southern University and the University of Houston at its door. It borders still another recreational facility at MacGregor Park."
- Athavalley, Anjali. "Inner Loop: Finding happiness as an Inner Looper." Houston Chronicle. Sunday July 11, 2004. Wednesday April 18, 2007. Retrieved on November 27, 2011.
- Rodriguez, Lori. "Saying goodbye, with no regrets." Houston Chronicle. Saturday November 9, 1991. A31.
- Bernstein, Alan and Jim Simmon. "Black vote went solidly for Turner/Whitmire failed to produce split." Houston Chronicle. Thursday November 7, 1991. A21.
- City of Houston, Council District Maps, District D." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 5, 2011.
- "COUNCIL DISTRICT MAPS > DISTRICT D." City of Houston.
- "About the PDCC." (Archive) Parkwood Drive Civic Club. Retrieved on October 21, 2012.
- "CONSTITUTION OF THE PARKWOOD DRIVE CIVIC CLUB As Amended November 16, 2006." (Archive) Parkwood Drive Civic Club. Retrieved on October 21, 2012. "The geographical boundaries of the Club shall be that area in the City of Houston, Texas, enclosed by Brays Bayou on the north from Del Rio to Scott Street. Then south on Scott to Griggs Road; then west to Tierwester; then south to Ozark; then west to Del Rio; and finally north to Brays Bayou, the original starting point; also part of Odin Court. This area is further defined specifically as including Sections 10, 13, 14 of Riverside Terrace; Blocks 54-57 and 67-73 inclusive; Terrace Oaks Blocks 1 (lots 1 through 13) 2 and 3; Leopold Place; Sections 56-38 and 57-38, Odin Court single residence sections only (this excludes the apartment section). All as recorded in the Plat Book Maps on file in the office of the County Clerk, Harris County court House, Houston, Texas."
- "Trustee Districts Map." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on November 11, 2008.
- "Lockhart Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
- "MacGregor Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
- "Poe Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on November 27, 2011.
- "Ryan Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
- "Third Ward Urban Redevelopment Plan." City of Houston. April 2005. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
- "Yates High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
- "Lamar High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
- "Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone - 19." Upper Kirby. Retrieved on December 10, 2008].
- "Board Approves School Closings and Consolidations." Houston Independent School District. November 14, 2008.
- "About St. Mary's Montessori School." St. Mary of the Purification School. Retrieved on April 14, 2009.
- "St. Peter the Apostle Middle School." Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Houston. Retrieved on April 14, 2009.
- "Smith Neighborhood Library." Houston Public Library. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.