Living in the New Washington Corridor of Houston
Houston’s historic Washington Avenue corridor has seen many changes over the past 100 years or so. Though signs depicting the nation’s first president would have us think otherwise, the street is actually named after Washington County, as it was originally part of the highway route to Brenham.
The streetcar from Downtown to the Heights also ran down Washington, and in the 1960s the street became lined with used-car lots. Things began to change in the 2000s, when Washington emerged as Houston’s hottest new nightclub scene. Townhomes also began to sprout up and down Washington, with the parallel corridors of I-10 and Buffalo Bayou forming the boundaries.
Residences and rip-roaring nightclubs are not always an ideal combination, and fortunately for residents, the party crowd has moved elsewhere, and Washington is developing a more mature and sedate restaurant following.
Washington is bookended by the Sixth Ward and First Ward neighborhoods as it meets Downtown to the east. To the west, it leads to the conglomeration of neighborhoods commonly referred to as the West End and Rice Military, which hug Memorial Park.
Arguably Houston’s oldest existing neighborhood, the Sixth Ward is a compact area filled with Victorian era cottages and a limited amount of new construction. The larger First Ward area, recently dubbed the First Ward Arts District for its heavy concentration of warehouses converted into artists’ studios, is very active with new construction and a limited amount of preservation.
Rice Military area of Houston
Rice Military and the entire West End area began transforming with townhomes and other new construction in the 1990s and that continues today. The name belies its proximity to Memorial Park, which was originally Camp Logan, a World War I training camp for the U.S. Army. Proximity to the Galleria and I-10 have added to the area’s popularity.