Sunnyside, Houston

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A sign indicating Sunnyside's location
A sign indicating Sunnyside's location

Sunnyside is a community in southern Houston, Texas, United States, south of Downtown Houston.

Sunnyside is outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 off State Highway 288 south of Downtown Houston and is predominantly African American. The community's slogan is "Sunnyside Pride." Sunnyside included a landfill, an adjacent garbage incinerator, and several salvage yards; the incinerator has closed.[1] The city of Houston describes Sunnyside's housing as "suburban-style."[2] As of 2007 Sandra Massie-Hines is the honorary mayor of Sunnyside.[3]


Thousands of enslaved African-Americans lived near Houston before the Civil War. Many of them near the city worked on sugar and cotton plantations, while most of those in the city limits had domestic and artisan jobs. In 1860, 49% of the city's population was enslaved.[4]

African Americans started to settle in the community and it was founded by H. H. Holmes. Sunnyside, the oldest African-American community in southern Houston, was first platted in 1912.[5] When the community opened in the 1910s, H. H. Holmes, the founder, gave the land the name Sunny Side.[6] By the 1940s area residents established a water district and a volunteer fire department. The City of Houston annexed Sunnyside in 1956.[5]

Fire Station 55, 1976

From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 Census, many African-Americans left traditional African-American neighborhoods like Sunnyside and entered parts of Southwest Houston.[7] Sunnyside lost 30% of its population in the decade prior to August 20, 1992.[8]

Between 1990 and 2000 the Hispanic population of Sunnyside increased a little by between 5 and 10 percent.[9] As of January 2007, according to a Houston Chronicle article, Sunnyside has many issues with recreational drug use. Phencyclidine (PCP) is cited by the article as a drug popular in Sunnyside.[10]

On August 30, 2007, the Houston Chronicle published an article about a syphilis outbreak in Houston. Marlene McNeese-Ward, the Houston Health Department chief of HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention, stated "We're really looking at Acres Homes especially, and Sunnyside, but there's not too many ZIP codes ... where we're not seeing any (cases)."[11]

In 2010 a zip code including much of the Sunnyside area had 118 registered sex offenders; it has the highest concentration of sex offenders of any zip code without facilities designed to house registered sex offenders. While some other Houston areas have higher concentrations of sex offenders than Sunnyside, those areas have specific facilities housing sex offenders. Travis McGee, the president of the Sunnyside Civic Association, said that the Sunnyside area was a "dumping field for anything that’s negative" and that he felt fear for area children.[12]

A 2013 NeighborhoodScout crime study that analyzed data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded that Sunnyside was #6 in its list of the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States. According to the ranking, every year each Sunnyside resident had a 1 in 11 chance of becoming a victim of crime, and the violent crime rate was 91.27 out of 1,000.[13]


According to the 1990 Census Sunnyside had 3,484 residents. 93.8% of them were African-American, 4.2% were Hispanic, and 2% were White, Asian, or other. The median household income was $12,477, compared to the City of Houston median of $26,621. 38.6% of Sunnyside residents lived below the poverty line.[8]


Unlike Fifth Ward and South Park, crime in Sunnyside has always stayed historically low due to police presence. In 2013 NeighborhoodScout placed Sunnyside as the 2nd most dangerous neighborhood in the United States.[14][15] Although there were no reports of the area increasing in crime that year, stats from NeighborhoodScout showed that Scott Street had a slight increase in burglaries and violent crime.


Rafael Longoria and Susan Rogers of the Rice Design Alliance said that Sunnyside could be described as "rurban," a word coined in 1918 which describes an area with a mix of urban and rural characteristics.[16] By 2007 new houses began to appear in the area.[17] As of 2008 Sunnyside still has small churches, shotgun houses, horse stalls, original frame houses, open ditches, uncontrolled garbage fires, and vacant lots, features which characterize many rural areas. By 2008 a major landfill and incinerator in the area had been converted into a park.[5]

As of 2010 Sunnyside has two grocery stores within its area, which serve a regional population of 22,000. Toral Sindha, a nutritionist in the City of Houston's health department and the manager of the city's Community Garden Program, stated that because of this Sunnyside was "a true food desert" and that "healthy produce in fresh fruits and vegetables is not accessible in Sunnyside." Cindy George of the Houston Chronicle said during that year that in Sunnyside and several other communities in Houston, "an abundance of drive-throughs and convenience stores offer processed, fatty foods to residents." George added that Sunnyside's neighborhood stores "offer fewer healthy options of any kind."[18]

Villa Americana formerly known as the VA, [19] Wesley Square, [20] Sunflower Terrace formerly known as Jailhouse, [21] Scott Plaza, [22] King's Row, [23] Royal Palms East, [24] Southlawn, [25] Missionary Village,[26] and the now demolished Wilmington[27] are low income housing developments located around the area.

Government and Infrastructure[edit]

Local government[edit]

Houston Police Department Sunnyside Storefront

The neighborhood is within the Houston Police Department's Southeast Patrol Division,[28] headquartered at 8300 Mykawa Road.[29] The Sunnyside Storefront Station is located at 3511 Reed Road.[29]

The Houston Fire Department Station 55 Sunnyside is near Sunnyside at 11212 Cullen Boulevard at Selinsky Road. The station is within Fire District 46.[30] The station opened in 1963 in what was then the southeasternmost area in the Houston city limits. The station had two facelifts and reopened in June 2000.[31]

Houston City Council District D covers Sunnyside.[32] As of 2008 Wanda Adams represents the district.[33] The city operates the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center at 4605 Wilmington Street.[34] The city multi-service centers provide several services such as child care, programs for elderly residents, and rental space.[35] The multi-service center received damage from Hurricane Ike.[36] In 2010 the city began to establish a community garden at the Sunnyside center to provide area residents with vegetables and other nutritious foods.[18]

During the 1997 Mayor of Houston election, 99% of Sunnyside voters voted for Lee P. Brown.[37]

County, state, and federal representation[edit]

Harris County Precinct One, headed by Commissioner Rodney Ellis, serves Sunnyside.[38][39]

Sunnyside is located in District 146 of the Texas House of Representatives. As of 2017, Shawn Thierry represents the district.[40] Sunnyside is within District 13 of the Texas Senate; as of 2017 Borris L. Miles represents that district.[41]

Sunnyside is in Texas's 9th congressional district. As of 2008, Al Green represents the district.[42] The closest United States Postal Service post office is the Martin Luther King Post Office at 9444 Cullen Boulevard.[43]

Sunnyside residents expressed apathy towards the 1992 Republican National Convention, which was held in the Houston Astrodome; residents believed that it did not address issues pertinent to Sunnyside residents. Despite the neighborhood's proximity to the Astrodome, traffic from the convention did not lead to increase of patronage of area businesses.[8]


Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public schools[edit]

The community is zoned to Houston Independent School District (HISD) schools. The community is within Trustee District IV, represented by Paula M. Harris as of 2008.[44]

The schools serving Sunnyside proper include Young Elementary School,[45] Attucks Middle School,[46] and Worthing High School.[47] Worthing is located in Sunnyside.[48]

Young Elementary opened as Sunny Side Elementary School in 1918; HISD renamed the school in June 1999 after Sunnyside residents petitioned for a renaming of the school. Young shares its campus with South Administrative Alternative Elementary and Drug-Free School. Worthing was built in 1958,[6] and it opened on January 27, 1958. Prior to the opening of Worthing, students went to Miller Junior High School and Yates High School. After Worthing received a new campus in 1962, Worthing moved out of its former campus, where Attucks opened.[49]

Carnegie Vanguard High School, an HISD magnet school, was previously near Sunnyside.[50] In 2008 Carnegie Vanguard was chosen as a National Blue Ribbon School.[51] Carnegie was scheduled to move to the Fourth Ward.[52]

KIPP: the Knowledge Is Power Program operates the KIPP Spirit College Preparatory School, a 5th-8th grade state charter school, near Sunnyside.[53] It operates the KIPP Sunnyside High School near Sunnyside.[54] In addition it plans to open KIPP Zenith Academy at 3730 South Acres, near Sunnyside.[55]

YES Prep Public Schools operates Yes Prep Southside in Sunnyside. The school is open to children from the Sunnyside, Third Ward, OST, South Park and Old South Union neighborhoods. Yes Prep Southside opened in the 2015-2016 school year with a 6th grade class, and will continue to add a grade each year until it has 6th-12th grades.

Pro-Vision All Male Middle Charter School, relocated to the Sunnyside area on November 2008. Pro-Vision was the first all male middle charter school in the State of Texas. Pro-Vision All Male Middle Charter School was established in 1995. Pro-Vision serves grades 5th - 8th.[citation needed]

Private schools[edit]

A Kindergarten through 5 Roman Catholic school called St. Philip Neri School, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, is in the area. It closed in Spring 2009.[56] The school was consolidated with St. Peter the Apostle Middle School.[57]

Gallery of public schools[edit]

Public libraries[edit]

W. L. D. Johnson Branch

The W. L. D. Johnson Neighborhood Library of Houston Public Library is located at 3517 Reed Road.[58] The library was named after W.L.D. Johnson, Sr., a man who raised funds for the purchase of the Carnegie Colored Library and served on the board of directors of that library.[59] This branch, dedicated on June 16, 1964, replaced the Carnegie Colored Library.[60]

Parks and recreation[edit]

The city operates the Sunnyside Park and the Sunnyside Community Center at 3502 Bellfort Boulevard. The park and the community center include a playground, an outdoor basketball pavilion, a 0.48 miles (0.77 km) hike and bicycle trail, lighted tennis courts, an indoor gymnasium, weight rooms, meeting rooms, a lighted athletics field, and a swimming pool.[61][62] The community celebrates the "Chocolate Bayou" festival annually.[2] Sunnyside is included in the service area of the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scouts W.L. Davis District.[63]

Community services[edit]

The American Red Cross operates the Southeast (Sunnyside) Houston-Harris County Branch Office at 4605 Wilmington Street.[64]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sunnyside." Houston HOPE. Retrieved on December 12, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Sunnyside." Houston Hope Homes. Retrieved on May 2, 2009.
  3. ^ "Volunteers brought Thanksgiving to them." KTRK-TV. Thursday November 22, 2007. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  4. ^ "Juneteenth". State of Texas website. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  5. ^ a b c Longoria, Rafael and Susan Rogers. "The Rurban Horseshoe." Cite 73. The Rice Design Alliance, (Northern Hemisphere) Winter 2008. Page 20. Retrieved on February 24, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "School Histories: the Stories Behind the Names." Houston Independent School District. Accessed September 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "Census tracks rapid growth of suburbia." Houston Chronicle. Sunday March 10, 1991. Section A, Page 1. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Roth, Bennett. "Convention '92/Sunnyside feels little warmth from GOP." Houston Chronicle. Thursday August 20, 1992. B10. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  9. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS / Latinos bringing change to black neighborhoods / Newcomers are finding acceptance comes gradually." Houston Chronicle. Monday May 2, 2005. A1. Retrieved on February 4, 2009.
  10. ^ Crowe, Robert. "Destructive force mars Sunnyside's rebirth," Houston Chronicle, January 27, 2007. A1. Retrieved on July 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Grant, Alexis. "Houston targets syphilis increase," Houston Chronicle, August 29, 2007. B1 MetFront.
  12. ^ Russell, Rucks. "Sex offenders cause nervous neighbors." KHOU-TV. January 4, 2010. Retrieved on January 21, 2010.
  13. ^ Stanton, Robert. "Two Houston neighborhoods called most dangerous in U.S." Houston Chronicle. April 30, 2013. Retrieved on March 16, 2014.
  14. ^ Eric Sandler. "Two of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country are in Houston - CultureMap Houston". CultureMap Houston. 
  15. ^ "Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America - 2014 - Neighborhood Scout". 
  16. ^ Longoria, Rafael and Susan Rogers. "The Rurban Horseshoe" (Archive). Cite 73. The Rice Design Alliance, (Northern Hemisphere) Winter 2008. Pages 18–19. Retrieved on February 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Crowe, Robert. "Parts of Sunnyside saturated with drugs, residents say." Houston Chronicle. January 27, 2007. Retrieved on July 14, 2010.
  18. ^ a b George, Cindy. "The fruit of their labors." (Archive) Houston Chronicle. April 19, 2010. Retrieved on April 23, 2010.
  19. ^ "Villa Americana, 5901 Selinsky Street, Houston, TX 77048 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  20. ^ "Wesley Square Apartments, 7402 Calhoun Street, Houston, TX 77033 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  21. ^ "Sunflower Terrace, 5050 Sunflower Street, Houston, TX 77033 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  22. ^ "Scott Plaza Apartments, 9703 Scott Street, Houston, TX 77051 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  23. ^ "Kings Row Apartments, 4141 Barberry Drive, Houston, TX 77051 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  24. ^ "Royal Palms Apartments, 5601 Royal Palms Street. , Houston, TX 77021 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  25. ^ "Moderate Rehabilitation Properties - Houston Housing Authority". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  26. ^ "Missionary Village Apartments, 4002 Corder Street, Houston, TX 77021 |". Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  27. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ "Crime Statistics for Southeast Patrol Division." City of Houston.
  29. ^ a b "VOLUNTEER INITIATIVES PROGRAM - Citizens Offering Police Support." City of Houston.
  30. ^ "Fire Stations." City of Houston. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  31. ^ "Fire Station 55." City of Houston. Retrieved on May 8, 2010.
  32. ^ City of Houston, Council District Maps, District D." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 5, 2011.
  33. ^ "COUNCIL DISTRICT MAPS > DISTRICT D." City of Houston.
  34. ^ "Sunnyside Multi-Service Center." City of Houston. Accessed October 27, 2008.
  35. ^ "Multi-Service Centers." City of Houston. Accessed October 27, 2008.
  36. ^ Martin, Betty L. "CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN: DISTRICT D / Repairs to streets, sewer lines top list / City's cost affected by age of infrastructure." Houston Chronicle. Thursday February 19, 2009. Retrieved on November 23, 2009.
  37. ^ Bernstein, Alan. "For Brown, ethnic medley with black chorus." Houston Chronicle. Monday December 8, 1997. A1. Retrieved on February 20, 2010.
  38. ^ "Precinct Maps : All Precincts." Harris County. Retrieved on May 15, 2017.
  39. ^ "" Harris County. Retrieved on May 17, 2017.
  40. ^ "District 146." Texas House of Representatives. Retrieved on May 15, 2017.
  41. ^ "Senate District 13" Map. Senate of Texas. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  42. ^ "Congressional District 22." National Atlas of the United States. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  43. ^ "Post Office Location - MARTIN LUTHER KING." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  44. ^ "Trustee Districts Map." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on November 11, 2008.
  45. ^ "Young Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  46. ^ "Attucks Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  47. ^ "Worthing High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  48. ^ "Worthing HS Students “G.I.V.E.” Back to Sunnyside Community." Houston Independent School District. November 21, 2011. Retrieved on November 22, 2011.
  49. ^ "Our History." Worthing High School. Retrieved on February 19, 2017.
  50. ^ Martin, Betty L. "HOUSTON ISD / Bond benefits Carnegie Vanguard." Houston Chronicle. Thursday December 20, 2007. ThisWeek 4.
  51. ^ "2008 No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools All Public and Private Schools by State." United States Department of Education. Retrieved on November 26, 2008.
  52. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "Fourth Ward site likely for new Carnegie Vanguard High School." Houston Chronicle. November 17, 2009. Retrieved on November 24, 2009.
  53. ^ "KIPP Spirit College Prep." KIPP: the Knowledge Is Power Program Houston. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  54. ^ "Overview." KIPP Sunnyside High School. Retrieved on May 21, 2011. "KIPP Sunnyside High School (KSHS) is in its inaugural school year and serves college-bound 9th graders from Houston’s Third Ward, Hiram Clarke, and Sunnyside communities." and "Address: 11000 Scott St. Houston, TX 77047"
  55. ^ Radcliffe, Jennifer. "New KIPP campuses have younger focus." Houston Chronicle. March 30, 2009. Retrieved on March 31, 2009.
  56. ^ "Archdiocesan Announcement Catholic Schools Plan." Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. February 5, 2009. Retrieved on February 6, 2009.
  57. ^ Murphy, Bill. "Four Catholic schools to be closed in Houston." Houston Chronicle. February 6, 2009. Retrieved on February 7, 2009.
  58. ^ "Johnson Neighborhood Library." Houston Public Library. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  59. ^ "Named Buildings." Houston Public Library. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  60. ^ Malone, Cheryl Knott. "Unannounced and Unexpected: The Desegregation of Houston Public Library in the Early 1950s." Library Trends. Volume 55, Number 3, Winter 2007. pp. 665-674. DOI: 10.1353/lib.2007.0015. See profile at Researchgate. CITED: p. 673.
  61. ^ "Sunnyside Community Center." City of Houston. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  62. ^ "Tennis Centers and Courts." City of Houston. Retrieved on December 8, 2008.
  63. ^ "Community Briefs." Houston Chronicle. Thursday August 16, 2001. ThisWeek 2. Retrieved on October 27, 2011.
  64. ^ "Southeast (Sunnyside) Houston-Harris County Branch Office." American Red Cross Greater Houston.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°39′43″N 95°21′50″W / 29.662°N 95.364°W / 29.662; -95.364