77019 Est. 1920s
River Oaks subdivision is located inside the 610 Loop, halfway between downtown and uptown and to the south of Upper Kirby and west of Montrose. It is bordered by Buffalo Bayou to north, Westheimer to the South, Shepherd Drive to the east and East Briar Hollow Lane (Union Pacific Railroad track) to the west. Home to many CEOs, board directors, and wealthy entrepreneurs, River Oaks has earned the reputation of being one of Houston's and the Southwest's most exclusive neighborhoods.
In the early 1920s, River Oaks subdivision was developed by Mike and Will Hogg, sons of a former governor of Texas, and their associate, Hugh Potter. Their company, the River Oaks Corporation, started with an option to purchase 200 acres of land four miles west of Houston on the south bank of Buffalo Bayou, surrounding the already flourishing River Oaks Country Club.
To say that the Hoggs were undertaking a highly speculative venture is an understatement. Houstonians regarded Country Club Estates, accessible only by a dirt road, as the hinterlands; sales were less than brisk. The Hogg brothers and their partner Mr. Potter, leaned heavily on the allure of the country club’s golf course to stimulate sales, and reduced lot sizes from their original range of 3.5- to 14.25-acres to smaller parcels. The strategy worked, and River Oaks Country Club Estates began to sell. The Hogg’s retained Kansas City landscape architects Hare and Hare to provide a master plan for the new subdivision, which included home sites, a fifteen-acre campus for River Oaks Elementary School, two shopping centers, esplanades, and underground utility lines.
|Rigid building codes, deed restrictions and centralized community control assured exclusivity, and approval of house designs by an architectural panel was required. River Oaks became famous for impressive homes designed by the country’s foremost residential architects, including John Staub, Birdsall P. Briscoe, Hiram Salisbury, and Howard Barnstone. Its most famous house, Bayou Bend, was a collaborative design by Staub and Briscoe for the Hogg’s’ sister, Ima, an early and exuberant collector of American antiques. Her home is now administered by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and houses the Bayou Bend Collection, a premier resource for American decorative arts. A later Staub house, Rienzi, built for the late Harris and Carroll Masterson, is also administered by the MFAH and houses the Mastersons’ European decorative art collection.|
|River Oaks is believed to be among the most affluent communities in the Lone-Star State and features one of the wealthiest zip codes (77019) in America according to Forbes "The most expensive ZIP codes in America." The residential area measures approximately 1,200 acres. This beautiful tract of land offers shady boulevards, spacious, meticulously landscaped lawns and breathtaking bayou views. Strong ordinances and deed restrictions enforced by the River Oaks Property Owners maintain the elegance and grace of this neighborhood. Avalon, Glendower Court, Royden Oaks, Oak Estates, Afton Oaks, and Highland Village are residential “inside the Loop” neighborhoods which are contiguous to River Oaks and offer some of Houston’s most desirable places to live. Traditional architecture prevails in River Oaks, but it's actually a diverse mix of the traditional and modern styles of architecture. In fact, many of the homes in River Oaks were designed by nationally recognized architects of the era.|
Nearby parks include River Oaks Park with recently updated playground equipment, tennis courts, a basketball court, and a charming civic building designed by one of Houston’s famous architects, John Staub. Just north of the neighborhoods, heavily wooded Memorial Park offers over 1,500 acres for golfing, biking, jogging, swimming, tennis, volleyball and baseball. There are also bridal paths and picnic areas. Central to everything, the private Briar Club has its own tennis, swimming, dining and work-out facilities. River Oaks is home to the River Oaks Garden Club and now River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.
River Oaks Corporation has been replaced by the River Oaks Property Owners’ Association (ROPO) which maintains, from a central command center, a neighborhood security force with 24-hour patrols. ROPO also handles permanent maintenance of the area through the levy of a maintenance fee. It monitors a very comprehensive deed restriction compliance, which ensures that the area can never be invaded by commercial structures or multi-family housing. It maintains the areas' esplanades and parks, and contracts for trash collection services.
Houston Independent School District schools serve students from these neighborhoods beginning at the elementary level on through high school. HISD schools include; River Oaks Elementary, Lanier Middle School, and Lamar High School. Several private schools nearby include the St. John’s School and the River Oaks Baptist School.
The median home in River Oaks has more than 3,600 square feet and an appraised value of over $1,000,000; property values range to greater than $20 million.
|Number of Homes in River Oaks||1,279|
|Median Sq. Foot||4,262|
|Median Year Built||1942|
|Area||Inner Loop, River Oaks, Upper Kirby|