While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Diana J. Kleiner
West University Place
Map of West University Place, 1947. Courtesy of the Harris County Clerk's Office. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
West University Place
West University Place Sign. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE, TEXAS. West University Place, an affluent incorporated suburb of metropolitan Houston in southwestern Harris County, reflects the impact of automobiles and paved thoroughfares that facilitated suburban living in the 1920s and the construction of suburban shopping districts, such as the Village, in the 1930s. The site was chosen for a community of country homes by Governor Ben W. Cooper of Tennessee in 1910, and the first lots were sold in 1917 by A. D. Foreman, who named the development for its proximity to Rice Institute. In 1923 approximately forty families lived there. The town incorporated in 1925 as an autonomous enclave within Houston and adopted a home-rule charter in 1940 with a council-manager form of city government. Zoning codes and other restrictions assured ethnic and economic homogeneity. Gaps between 1920s subdivisions were filled in with new housing by the late 1930s and early 1940s, when the community was said to be the second fastest growing city in the nation. The model for early homes in the community was Braewood, a 1920s garden suburb built on a network of curvilinear streets with sizeable houses on large lots; in the 1940s and 1950s one-story ranch houses were built in the community's northwest quadrant. In 1930 the community had fifteen businesses and a population of 1,322; in 1942 the population was 9,221, but it was 17,000 through the 1950s. By 1948 West University Place was completely surrounded by Houston. Schoolchildren attended schools of the Houston Independent School District, but the town provided its own water and waste disposal plants, police, and fire department. Few businesses were established because of residential zoning, but by the mid-1960s the town had six churches and a library. The population fluctuated around 15,000 in the 1960s and 1970s and was 12,714 in 1990. The population reached 14,211 in 2000. That figure had increased to 14,787 in 2010, with 319 listed businesses.


Stephen Fox, Houston Architectural Guide (Houston: American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter, 1990). Peter Papademetriou, ed., Houston: An Architectural Guide (Houston Chapter, American Institute of Architects, 1972). Town of West University Place (MS, Harris County Scrapbooks, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, 1936).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Diana J. Kleiner, "WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE, TX," accessed April 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hew05.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 1, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...