Those searching for the pinnacle of prestige need look no further. River Oaks is well known as one of the wealthiest and most exclusive communities in Texas. Based on median home values, it is the priciest neighborhood in Houston. Properties range from around $1 million deep into the multi-million dollar range. Home to gracefully curving streets, lush green lawns and a canopy of old oaks, this neighborhood is home to a surprisingly eclectic mix of single family homes, ranging from the original large, 1930s and 40s homes to the even larger homes that have started to replace them.
The boundaries of River Oaks are, roughly, Buffalo Bayou to the north, S Shepherd Drive to the east, Westheimer Road to the south and the Union Pacific corridor to the west.
River Oaks was originally developed by William and Michael Hogg in the 1920s. These sons of former Texas Governor James Hogg and brothers of famed Houston philanthropist and art collector Ima Hogg. In developing the neighborhood, the brothers built the family estate across Buffalo Bayou and named it Bayou Bend. Today it is maintained by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and contains most of Ima Hogg’s large art collection. Much of the Hoggs’ original land purchase consisted of land north of Buffalo Bayou, the former grounds of World War I-era Camp Logan, which they donated to the city of Houston for the creation of a large park.
Sales began in 1928 in the original section of the neighborhood. Their plan called for something much more unique than most neighborhoods at the time: lushly planted esplanades and parks, maintained and manicured down to the finest detail.
Following World War II and Houston’s boom, River Oaks became the prime destination for wealthy Houstonians, a trend that continues to this day.
The City of Houston annexed the land in 1927. The long-standing River Oaks Garden Club remains active to this day even as the look of River Oaks continues to evolve and even larger custom homes replace the original homes.
Good to Know:
Fire protection is provided by the Houston Fire Department, which maintains a station at 1700 Richmond Avenue.
Police protection is provided by the Houston Police Department’s Neartown Police Station, located at 802 Westheimer Road.
The nearest post office is located at 2802 Timmons Lane.
Shopping and Dining:
The landmark River Oaks Shopping Center is located at the western edge of the community, and retains its original main-street-esque character, with many of the original Art Deco style buildings still standing. This district provides numerous shopping and dining opportunities. The Upper Kirby and Lower Westheimer areas, each only a stone’s throw away, are also home to many unique dining options, and the upscale Galleria shopping area is also just a few minutes away.
River Oaks residents are zoned to attend Houston Independent School District schools. Elementary school students are zoned to attend the sought-after River Oaks Elementary School, an IB World School.
Middle school students are zoned to attend Lanier Middle School. High school students are zoned to attend Lamar High School.
Many of the city’s top private schools lie in close proximity. These include St. John’s School and St. Anne Catholic School, St. Thomas High School, and River Oaks Baptist School.
Libraries, Parks & Recreation:
River Oaks is home to the prestigious, private River Oaks Country Club, which is a premier golf and tennis club. Public golf and tennis facilities are also located nearby in Memorial Park, Houston’s largest park, also home to jogging and biking trails, playgrounds, a pool and sports fields.
River Oaks is also dotted with small pocket parks, with River Oaks Park among the largest of these.
River Oaks is served by the Looscan Neighborhood Library, which is part of the Houston Public Library system and is located at 2510 Willowick Road.