Washington Avenue (Houston, Texas)
Washington Avenue at Studemont
|Length||4.5 mi (7.2 km)|
|Location||Harris County, Texas|
|West end||Hempstead Road|
Ralph Bivins stated in a newspaper article published by the Chicago Tribune that decades before 1995 the area along Washington Avenue was a "major corridor of commerce" as people used the road to travel between Downtown Houston, the Sixth Ward, and the Houston Heights. Bivins described Washington Avenue in 1995 as a "decrepit" road with used car lots, "boarded-up" buildings, and second-hand stores. Around 2009 the area around the road gentrified and gained a "Yuppie" population.
Around 2009 the area became a popular entertainment area due to its location near Downtown Houston and the Houston Heights, a community within Houston that forbids the sale of alcohol within its boundaries. By May 2009, the Washington Avenue area gained expensive town houses and condominiums, restaurants, and bars. John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press argues that the spread-out nature of Washington Avenue could cause issues that lead to the decline of the Richmond Strip, a popular party-going district in the 1990s. To alleviate the issue, the clubs on Washington Avenue added jitneys and similar tools to ferry people between clubs.
Hlavately said "Most Houstonians look at Washington as a destination for Outer Loopers[people living outside of the 610 Loop] hoping to live out a club-life fantasy. For suburbanites, the bottle service, flashing lights, valets, dress codes, long lines and discriminating bouncers are more inviting than off-putting" while "For a seasoned Inner Looper [a person who lives within the 610 Loop], though, one step into Blue Label Lounge or Reign is enough to beat a hasty retreat to Domy Books. The seizure-inducing lighting, random Asian businessmen, pukey-faced girls, fire-breathing bartenders, dancing lingerie models and bachelorette parties chugging bottles of Grey Goose give these clubs a larger-than-life cartoon quality that beats anything on an MTV reality show."
In 2012, Katharine Shilcutt of the Houston Press said that the entertainment "scene" began moving to Midtown and the East End. As a result, many restaurants in the corridor began to increase the quality of the food and many of the clubs had closed. Shilcutt argued that it was more likely that Washington Avenue would become a restaurant-focused area than become a decrepit area like the Richmond Strip.
In his 2010 article, Craig Hlavaty said that Washington Avenue's main area extended for 3 miles (4.8 km), from TC Jester to Houston Avenue, "plus one block (give or take) to the north and south." In her 2012 article, Shilcutt defined the club district as on Washington Avenue, between Studemont Road and Westcott Street; she said this was because the area east of Studemont is the Old Sixth Ward and the area west of Westcott is Rice Military. The Rice Military Civic Club defines Westcott as its western boundary.
- Bivins, Ralph. "CLOSE-IN HOUSING PROJECT TO PROVIDE JUMP-START FOR AGING HOUSTON THOROUGHFARE THAT HAS FALLEN ON HARD TIMES." Chicago Tribune. 5S Real Estate. July 9, 1995. Retrieved on March 22, 2009.
- Swartz, Mimi. "Street Smarts: Washington Avenue, Houston." Texas Monthly. January 1, 2009. Retrieved on March 25, 2009.
- Ghahremani, Yasmin. "In Houston, a Party Corridor." The New York Times. May 31, 2009. Retrieved on May 30, 2009.
- McGuff, Mike. "Richmond Strip not dead yet." KIAH-TV. October 8, 2010. Retrieved on May 27, 2012. "[It was] firearms, autos and alcohol in too great of concentration I think," said John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press."
- Hlavaty, Craig. "Washington Life." In: Hlavaty, Craig, Shea Serrano, and Mike Giglio. "Wild on Washington." Houston Press. February 9, 2010. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.
- Shilcutt, Katharine. "Top 10 Restaurants on Washington Avenue." Houston Post. Tuesday October 23, 2012. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.
- Martin, Betty L. "RICE MILITARY/WOODCREST / Realtors, builders look to neighborhood for continued growth." Houston Chronicle. Thursday April 17, 2008. ThisWeek 7. Retrieved on October 21, 2012.
- RMCC By-Laws. (Archive) Rice Military Civic Club. Last accessed September 24, 2006.
- Miller, Doug. "Parking meters may soon pop up on Washington Avenue." KHOU. December 3, 2012. Retrieved on February 5, 2013.