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The six wards of Houston

I grew up in Kingwood and remember that the only time I ever heard mention any of the wards of Houston was during news casts. I never really understood them. But now that I live in the loop and practice real estate, I hear about them all the time. My clients and friends are always asking me about our wards, so I've decided to do my research and write a little piece on them. When the Allen brothers left New York to come to our neck of the woods in 1836, they purchased 6,600+ acres of land along the Bayou and called it Houston. Once the city was incorporated in 1837, they divided the city into political districts. These districts, referred to as "wards", were strictly based on geographical boundaries and never took into consideration the number of people within the boundaries. Their purpose was to create an electoral district for administrative and representative purposes. Initially, there were only four wards. In 1866 the fifth ward was added and 10 years later, thereabout, the 6th ward was added. A map of these wards can be found here. I had assumed that since the Allen brothers came directly from New York, that the idea of the ward system was born from the 5 Burroughs of New York. My research, however, has taught me that the Burroughs of New York were developed long after the Allen brothers left New York. It turns out that the ward system was used in other U.S. cities, such as Chicago, and not an original idea even to the Allen brothers. The city redefined it's districts and no longer used the ward system in 1906; and in 1928 the wards were completely removed from maps. However, the neighborhoods still remain and the residents continue to proudly refer to their homes by the wards in which they reside. I am a very nostalgic person and love the preservation of History. That may be why the Heights has such a special place in my heart. So, I would love to see the six wards of Houston forever remembered in recognition of our humble beginnings.

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