This past week, I took a course at Rice University and was able to drive through my favorite area in Houston on a daily basis. Two of my favorite neighborhoods, Southampton and Boulevard Oaks are located here. To most people, these neighborhoods are seemingly one in the same, as they don’t have huge stone signs flanked by waterfalls at their entrances like the neighborhoods in my two syllable suburb do.
I am completely enamored by the fairy tale streets lined with majestic Live Oak trees. I love the image of stately homes from the 1920’s – 1940’s cohabitating peacefully with modern mansions. This jewel box of an area is a true oasis. Peaceful, beautiful, and dignified, yet urban in every sense of the word. Its residents post signs saying things like “War is not the answer” or “Poets for Peace” in their lawns. To me, it seems as though every house has its own story. If the walls could really talk, I would sit and listen intently for hours.
The Live Oaks, which I mentioned earlier, are what makes the area so special. Their canopies shade the streets from the blistering Houston heat. They add a sense of romanticism as their branches contort gracefully down the esplanades on North and South Boulevards and throughout the rest of Boulevard Oaks. A writer from The New York Times once wrote:
“To stand at the foot of South Boulevard in Houston is to look down what
is perhaps the most magnificent residential street in America. Staged rows
of soaring live oaks form the vaulted arches of a great Gothic cathedral over
a grassy esplanade, lined with imposing yet graceful mansions from the 1920s by
such eminent architects of their day as John F. Staub and Birdsall P.Briscoe.”