Spring Branch, Houston facts for kids

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Spring Branch
Houston, TX Neighborhood
SpringBranchEntrance.jpg
Elevation 26 m (85 ft)
Population
 • Total 134,225
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 77080, 77041, 77043, 77055
Website sbmd.org

Spring Branch is a district in west-northwest Harris County, Texas, United States, roughly bordered by Tanner Road and Hempstead Road to the north, Beltway 8 to the west, Interstate 10 to the south, and the 610 Loop to the east; it is almost entirely within the City of Houston. Established by the Texas Legislature, the Spring Branch Management District exercises jurisdiction over the area.

Several minor bayous run through the community, including Brickhouse Gully, Spring Branch (the neighborhood namesake), and Briar Branch, which drain into Buffalo Bayou in central Houston. Spring Lake is a large pond near the center of the neighborhood.

Spring Branch includes significant immigrant Korean American and Hispanic American communities.

History

StPetersUnitedChurchHoustonTX
The historic St. Peter's United Church
HillendahlGraveHoustonTX
The 1,400 square feet (130 m2) plot pictured here has the graves of nineteen members of the Hillendahl family, including one who was interred in 1854. A descendant of the family sold all of the land around the grave site, but refused to move the actual graves.

Spring Branch began as a religious German farmer settlement; many of the farmers owned dairies. Karl Kolbe, who arrived in Texas from Germany in 1830, was Spring Branch's earliest settler. The Germans opened sawmills to cut area timber. In 1848, St. Peter's United (Lutheran) Church opened on a site donated from the Bauer family; the lumber used in the construction originated from one of the local sawmills. The Spring Branch School Society, sponsored by the church in 1856, eventually became the Spring Branch Independent School District.

The early settlers all had roads named after their families – Gessner, Conrad Sauer, Witte, Wirt, Blalock, Campbell, Hillendahl, Bauer, Fries, and Neuens.

After World War II James E. Lyon served as a developer in Spring Branch.

The eastern part of Spring Branch was annexed by the City of Houston in the 1940s while thewestern part was annexed in the 1950s. In the mid-1950s, efforts to create a Spring Branch municipality failed. Following this, the Memorial villages, a group of six independent municipalities, formed. Houston annexed the rest of the Spring Branch area. In the mid-to-late 20th century, Spring Branch had a rural suburban character with dirt roads and horses in the area. Spring Branch Elementary School, one of several area elementary schools, was an all-White elementary school.

Apartment complexes opened in the Spring Branch area around the 1970s. In 1982, the City of Houston Housing Authority proposed a $3.8 million U.S. dollar public housing unit at Emnora Lane. The city encountered strong opposition from civic clubs, city council members, and state representatives, so the city housing officials canceled the project. The sign used by the city to indicate the proposed site repeatedly received spray paint graffiti stating "no niggers."

By the 1980s, Houston's economy had collapsed and occupancy rates declined. Many apartment complexes faced foreclosure, bankruptcy, and changes in ownership. Bill Zermeno, a city electrical inspector, said in a 1988 Houston Chronicle article that many of the apartments with some of the strongest violations against maintenance-related city laws were in Spring Branch. Kim Cobb, the author of the 1988 Houston Chronicle article, said that many of the poorly maintained complexes were located next to well-maintained single family subdivisions.

From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 Census, many Hispanics settled in parts of Spring Branch; in pockets of Spring Branch almost all of the immigration was from Central American countries. The Hispanic population increased by an amount between 1,000 and 3,500 per square mile. In 1997 S.D. Kim, the Houston bureau chief of The Korea Times, said that Koreatown, the Korean community in Spring Branch, grew because of inexpensive housing and the zoning to the Spring Branch Independent School District. In 1998 and again in 2001, a proposal to place Korean language street signs in Koreatown lead to political controversy; the reaction against the proposal lead to the withdrawal of the proposal. By 2006, Spring Branch Elementary School was mostly Hispanic, reflecting demographic changes in the Spring Branch area. By 2007 several older houses were torn down and replaced with newer houses; new homeowners came to Spring Branch to buy larger lots, to buy in an area cheaper than neighborhoods bordering Downtown Houston. New residents came due to the proximity to Downtown, Uptown, and the Energy Corridor.

In May 2011 the Spring Branch Central Super Neighborhood campaigned against having federal funds used to improve older apartment complexes in the area.

In 2013 Houstonia magazine stated that Spring Branch, including the adjacent cities of Hillshire Village and Spring Valley Village, was one of the "25 Hottest Neighborhoods" of Houston.

On May 5, 2016, a four alarm fire occurred on May 5, 2016 in Spring Branch, Texas

Cityscape

SpringbranchIntersection
The intersection of Blalock and Westview, with Spring Branch street signs

Spring Branch is generally bounded by Beltway 8 on the western end, the 610 Loop on the eastern end, Interstate 10 on the southern end, and U.S. Highway 290 and Clay Road to the north.

The district has access to Interstate 10, the 610 Loop, Beltway 8, and the Hempstead Highway. The district is in proximity to Downtown Houston, the Energy Corridor, the Memorial City District (including Memorial City Mall and the Memorial Hermann Hospital Memorial City), the Texas Medical Center, Uptown Houston (including The Galleria), and Westchase.

Terrence McCoy of the Houston Press said in 2012 that in Spring Branch "[a]venues lined with orderly yards and American flags buttress shopping centers where Spanish dominates."

As of 2012 there are different varieties of housing in Spring Branch. Spring Branch West includes many 1960s ranch-style houses. The central portion of Spring Branch has houses which are worth about $500,000 as of 2012. The eastern portion of Spring Branch, which is blue collar, has many bungalow houses with wood siding. Houstonia wrote that "Up until [the 2000s] or so, much of Spring Branch had a rural feel. It wasn’t uncommon to see pastures full of horses, relics of its past life as farmland tilled by generations of German immigrants".

In 1983 there were a travel agent, an optical shop, multiple restaurants, a newsstand, a bookstore, a pharmacy, and a furniture store in Spring Branch catering to Koreans.

Diplomatic missions

ElSalvadorConsulateHouston
Consulate-General of El Salvador in Houston

The Consulate-General of El Salvador in Houston resides at 1720 Hillendahl Boulevard in Spring Branch.

Demographics

Between the 1990 U.S. Census and the 2000 U.S. Census, as Spring Branch gained many Hispanic and Korean residents, many white residents left. Nestor Rodriguez, an immigration expert from the University of Houston, said that the white population of Spring Branch implied that many were leaving not because of racial differences but because the new residents were not middle class. Rodriguez said, "They don't say they're not middle-class, but they say, well, look at them, they're out on the street corners looking for work; we're not used to that. But those are characteristics of working-class or lower working-class people."

In 2000, the City of Houston's Super Neighborhoods located all or in part within Spring Branch reported the following population statistics:

Super Neighborhood SN # Population Hispanic  % White  % Black  % Asian  % Native American  % Native Hawaiian  % other non-Hispanic  % 2 or more races  %
Westbranch 8 4,321 1,532 35.45% 1,289 29.83% 235 5.44% 1,224 28.33% 0 0.00% 2 0.05% 0 0.00% 39 0.90%
Spring Branch West 10 32,423 17,059 52.61% 11,353 35.02% 1,878 5.80% 1,627 5.02% 59 0.18% 11 0.03% 44 0.14% 392 1.21%
Spring Branch North 84 18,402 6,403 34.80% 8,976 48.78% 1,151 6.25% 1,560 8.48% 27 0.15% 8 0.04% 42 0.23% 235 1.28%
Spring Branch Central 85 29,074 18,844 64.81% 7,678 26.41% 1,190 4.09% 1,103 3.79% 44 0.15% 6 0.02% 23 0.08% 186 0.64%
Spring Branch East 86 26,491 16,275 61.44% 7,872 29.72% 1,075 4.06% 945 3.57% 51 0.19% 5 0.02% 27 0.10% 240 0.91%

Parks and recreation

AgnesMoffitPark
Agnes Moffit Park

The district includes parks operated by the city government and the county government.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department operates municipal parks within the Spring Branch Management District. Agnes Moffit Park, located at 10645 Hammerly Boulevard, has a swimming pool and a golf course. The R.L. and Cora Johnson Park is located at 9791 Tanner Road. The adjacent R. L. and Cora Johnson Community Center, located at 9801 Tanner Road, has a 0.25 mile hike and bicycle trail, a playground, an outdoor basketball pavilion, and lighted tennis courts. The park was originally known as the Carverdale Park; it was renamed in January 2009 after some civic leaders. Freed Park and Community Center is located at 7020 Shadyvilla Lane. The park has an indoor gymnasium, a .35 mile hike and bicycle trail, a playground, a lighted sports field. Schwartz Park is located at 8203 Vogue.

Harris County Precinct 3 operates the county parks. The 13-acre (53,000 m2) Nob Hill Park, located at 10300 Timber Oak Drive, has a 0.59-mile (950 m) walking trail, a picnic, a playground, a gazebo, and a softball field. The 1-acre (4,000 m2) Spring Branch Pocket Park, located at 1700 Campbell Road at Spring Branch Drive, has a 0.057-mile (92 m) trail, a playground, and a gazebo. The 1-acre (4,000 m2) Housman Pocket Park, located at 6705 Housman Street, has a 0.12-mile (190 m) trail, a playground, and a gazebo. The 1-acre (4,000 m2) Moritz Pech Family Park, located at 1493½ Moritz Drive, has two playgrounds and a 0.22-mile (350 m) granite jogging trail. The 1-acre (4,000 m2) Creek Pocket Park, located at 1701 Creek Drive, has a 0.068-mile (0.109 km) trail. The 0.21-acre (850 m2) Bracher Pocket Park, located at 1507½ Bracher Street, has a 0.057-mile (92 m) gravel trail, a playground, and a gazebo. The 0.65-acre (2,600 m2) Bauer Pocket Park, located at 2201 Bauer Road, has a 0.1-mile (160 m) trail. The 1-acre (4,000 m2) Gessner Pocket Park, located at 1610½ Gessner Drive, has a 0.025-mile (40 m) trail and a playground.

Culture

The Spring Branch Family Development Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, opened in 2001 to provide educational, recreational, health and social services to residents of Spring Branch.

Images for kids


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