River Oaks is without a doubt the most prestigious area in all of downtown Houston. River Oaks, located west of downtown on more than 1,100 acres, is home to some of the city’s most expensive homes. Actually, River Oaks is the priciest community in Texas and one of the most costly in the United States. Several upscale art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants can be found in the River Oaks area.
Real estate in River Oaks is some of the nicest around Houston, making it a great place to call home for affluent families and retirees. Large, stately houses and spectacular estates are typical in the area because they were built by Houston’s “old money.” Stylish new apartment buildings and pristine houses are also appearing in the region. An additional allure is the abundance of high-end dining options, retail destinations, and cultural activities.
River Oaks is a lush neighborhood with mansions and a shopping mall filled with high-end boutiques and international eateries. A luxurious branch of the Museum of Fine Arts, Rienzi features European paintings, miniatures, and ceramics, while the art deco River Oaks Theatre screens independent and foreign films. Those in the know visit one of the many high-end spas or salons in the neighborhood to pamper themselves.
In the 1920s, River Oaks was founded by William and Michael Hogg, sons of former Texas Governor Jim Hogg, and attorney Hugh Potter. In 1923, Potter secured an option to buy 200 acres surrounding the River Oaks Country Club; the following year, William Hogg founded the Country Club Estates to facilitate the growth of the area. In 1928, the two brothers actively marketed the sale of subdivision lots at a price of $2,200 each. Together with their sister, Ima Hogg, the brothers oversaw the building of Bayou Bend, a grand southern mansion on the banks of Buffalo Bayou.
William L. Clayton’s summer home was the first structure built in what is now known as River Oaks. This Colonial Revival house in Houston was designed by Birdsall Briscoe and built for the Clayton family in 1924. It has been recognized as an important part of Houston’s history and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Oaks, bushes, azaleas, and other flowers were strategically placed throughout River Oaks’ parks and esplanades as part of the development plans. The development was meticulously planned to ensure a harmonious community for all its residents.