History and Culture
Woodland Heights became an Historic District in 2011. It is significant for three reasons. First, it illustrates development in Houston between 1907 and 1925. Second, it is associated with William Wilson and other notable residents. Finally, Woodland Heights is important for its architecture.
Woodland Heights is best known for “Lights in the Heights,” a holiday decoration event that has been featured in national magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.
Significant Historic Buildings and Sites
- William A. Wilson House, 205 Bayland, built in 1910 by the Woodland Heights developer as his own residence. Wilson lived there until his death in 1928. It is the only Prairie style house in the neighborhood. The house had been significantly altered and its condition had deteriorated over the years. It has been fully renovated and was listed as a City of Houston Protected Landmark in 2008.
- R. E. Avery House, 504 Woodland was constructed around 1910. It was built by the William A. Wilson Realty Company. It is an American Foursquare house with Queen Anne/Free Classic details. This house is a City of Houston Protected Landmark. It was the first individual landmark to be designated in Woodland Heights, in 2008.
- Rolle Painter House, 530 Byrne, built circa 1910, served as an orphanage directed by Maggie Painter 1920-33; later converted to a residence, descendants still reside in the home; featured on the Woodland Heights Home Tour in 1998 and 2007.
- William Wilson founded the Wilson Realty Company. He developed the Woodland Heights, Lawndale, Woodson Place, and Dearborn Place subdivisions. His company also built houses in the Houston Heights, Westmoreland, and Eastwood neighborhoods.
- Frank Murphy Black was an influential leader in the Houston school system. He served as the principal of several schools. He also was the first Dean of the Houston Junior College, which later became the University of Houston. Black lived with his family on Highland Avenue from 1908 until his death in 1932.
- John Goodwin Tower was a U.S. Senator from 1961 to 1985. He was the first Republican senator from Texas since Reconstruction in 1870. Senator Tower’s father, the Reverend Joe Z. Tower, was pastor of Woodland Methodist Church during the early 1930s when the family resided in Woodland Heights.
- Charles William “Billy” Goyen was a 20th century American novelist and short story writer. He lived in Woodland Heights from 1923 until 1939, when he left to serve in the Navy during World War II.
- Everett Augustus “Squatty” Lyons, Jr. was a Harris County Commissioner (Precinct 4) from 1942 to 1990. In that role, Lyons oversaw several major county building projects, including the Criminal Courthouse, the County Administration Building, and the Astrodome. Lyons lived with his family on Florence from 1946 to 1963.
- Kathryn Jean “Kathy” Whitmire was the Mayor of Houston from 1982 to 1991. She was the first female elected to Houston City government. While she was Mayor, Whitmire lived on Bayland.