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Broadacres, Houston

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Broadacres, Houston

View of the Broadacres Historic District (Houston, Texas, USA), looking west-southwest from the median esplanade across from the 1314 street address.

Broadacres is a subdivision in Houston, Texas within the Boulevard Oaks community.[1]

The University of Houston Wortham House, the residence of the Chancellor of the University of Houston System, is in Broadacres. As of 2009 it was worth about $6 million. The chancellor is required by contract to live at the Wortham House.[2]

In 2005 Allison Cook said "There's just more disposable income in Southampton, Broad Acres [sic] and storied Shadow Lawn than in Southgate".[3]


Broadacres subdivision marker

James A. Baker Jr., a lawyer who was the father of James A. Baker III, established the Broadacres community.[4] Baker had purchased a parcel of property north of the Rice Institute in 1908. In 1922 he discussed the possibility of developing that parcel with his son. Seventeen investors agreed to purchase the lots, larger than average in Houston, by late 1922. Kate Sayen Kirkland, author of James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941, said that "The Bakers conceived their Broadacres enclave as a public amenity distinguished by fine architecture and distinctive planning but limited in ownership to personal and professional friends invited to invest in the project."[5] William Ward Watkin created the layout of the area. Watkin, Birdsall P. Briscoe, and John Staub had served as architects of several of the houses.[4] The families who had houses built in Broadacres were not singular architectural patrons.[6]

During the Great Depression construction in Broadacres ceased. James A. Baker Jr. never lived in Broadacres, because he believed he would be unable to afford a $20,000 (about $268956.36 in today's money) down payment for a lot.[7] Fox said that by the 1930s Stephen Fox, author of The Country Houses of John F. Staub, said that by the 1930 Broadacres "collectively displayed its residents as a Houston upper class."[6]

Anne Schlumberger Bohnn wrote a book about the history of Broadacres.[4]

In 2000 the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance offered a walking tour of the community.[8]


The Wortham House, the residence of the Chancellor of the University of Houston and the University of Houston System

Broadacres is in proximity to Rice University.[9]

Kate Sayen Kirkland, author of James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941, said "Typical of the finest homes being constructed in Houston during the 1920s, the houses in Broadacres represent the eclectic style favored by the country house movement prevalent in that era."[10] Stephen Fox, author of The Country Houses of John F. Staub, said that in the 1920s "the entire neighborhood of Broadacres attained a collective identity that emphasized—through the beauty and decorum of individual houses and their systematic integration into a hierarchical landscape order that moved rhythmically measured sequences from the space of each country house, to its garden, to the space of the community, to the space of the planned garden city— the discernment, authority and what [Richard L. Bushman, a cultural historian] called "radiance" of its residents."[6] Fox said that "[i]t is the extraordinary collective impact that Broadacres's landscape still exerts that makes it such an instructive example of how elite community was socially constructed in Houston through architecture and landscape architecture during the 1920s."[6]


Broadacres is within the Houston Independent School District.[11] Zoned schools include Poe Elementary School (located in Boulevard Oaks),[12] Lanier Middle School (located in Neartown),[13] and Lamar High School (located in Upper Kirby).[14]

Notable residents



  • Fox, Stephen. Color photography by Richard Cheek. The Country Houses of John F. Staub. Texas A&M University Press, 2007. 1585445959, 9781585445950.
  • Kirkland, Kate Sayen. James A. Baker of Houston, 1857-1941. Texas A&M University Press, September 1, 2012. ISBN 1603448004, 9781603448000.


  1. ^ "Civic Association Architectural Review/Deed Restriction Contacts." Boulevard Oaks. Retrieved on December 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "U of H chancellor living large." KTRK-TV. Saturday May 9, 2009. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  3. ^ Cook, Allison. "A posh pleasure in Southampton / Antica Osteria serves Italian comfort food in a cozy setting." Houston Chronicle. Thursday January 20, 2005. Dining p. 6. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Holmes, Ann. "Broadacres homes open for tour this weekend." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday November 3, 1987. Houston Section, p. 3. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Kirkland, p. 297.
  6. ^ a b c d Fox, p. 21.
  7. ^ Kirkland, p. 299.
  8. ^ Sweeten, Valerie. "Walking tour offered of historic Broadacres homes." Houston Chronicle. Wednesday November 22, 2000. ThisWeek 8. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  9. ^ Sallee, Rad and Stephanie Asin. "Our neighborhoods/Rice-Museum-Medical Center." Houston Chronicle. Sunday July 8, 1990. Summit 8. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  10. ^ Sayen, p. 298.
  11. ^ "Broadacres" (JPG, Archive, PDF, Archive - Harris County Block Book. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Poe Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  13. ^ "Lanier Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  14. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  15. ^ Milling, T.J. "Tempers, taxes hit the roof/Southampton owners claiming cronyism." Houston Chronicle. Friday August 23, 1991. A25. Retrieved on November 20, 2012.

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