The Riverside District (the District) is a historic, urban neighborhood located three miles south of Downtown Houston that was developed in 1930’s and 1940’s for wealthy and middle-income Jewish families. The District is bordered by S. MacGregor Way on the north, Old Spanish Trail (OST) on the south, Highway 288 on the west, and Calhoun Street on the east. It is approximately one square mile in area. The neighborhood is rich with grand, old mansions and charming, architecturally significant bungalows. Some of the historic homes are the creations of famous architects, such as John Staub, Bridsall Briscoe and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Residents od the District enjoy living within three miles of two primary employment and economic centers – Downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center – with a combined employment of nearly 300,000. Residents also enjoy the District’s close proximity (within three miles) to the City’s premier cultural, educational, recreational, and entertainment venues including the six museums, four major performing arts theaters, ten colleges and universities, three major parks, the zoo, public golf courses and tennis centers, four professional sports stadiums, and over 100 full service restaurants.
In the 1960’s, housing desegregation laws provided opportunities for middle-income African American families to start moving into the District. Jewish families fled to the suburbs, and African American middle-income families replaced them. Today, approximately 80% of the District’s households are African American.
The District is not a homogeneous community. The strip between OST on the south, and Dixie Drive and Griggs Road on the north is characterized by apartment complexes, small single-family homes, and commercial business. Over decades of poorly maintained properties, opening of undesirable businesses, recessions, and the influx of low-income households, this area has become substantially blighted and has substantial socio-economic issues.
Over the last several years, the Riverside District has been experiencing a renaissance – a rebirth. New luxury and moderately priced single-family homes as well as signs of home remodeling can be seen throughout the neighborhood. Commercial development has occurred or under construction throughout the length of Old Spanish Trail.