Alief, Houston, Texas: Wikis

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Alief is a community in Harris County, Texas, United States that is mostly within the city limits of Houston.

Alief
—  Community of Houston, Texas  —
Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 29°42′40″N 95°35′47″W / 29.71111°N 95.59639°W / 29.71111; -95.59639
Country United States
State Texas
County Harris
City Houston
Area Southwest
Settled 1894
Incorporated 1977
Area
 - Total 36.6 sq mi (94.7 km2)
Elevation 79 ft (24 m)
Population
 - Total 144,688
 Density 3,953/sq mi (1,528/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
GNIS feature ID 1329364[1]
Website
www.aliefsuperneighborhood.org/Meetings Official Website of the Super Neighborhood

Contents

History

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Early Days

The first written account of Alief occurred in 1861, when Ron Reynolds claimed 1,250 acres (5.1 km2) of land at Brays Bayou headwaters. The land was sold to Jacamiah Seaman Daugherty in 1888 and in 1889 he allowed the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway to build on his land. Daugherty sold his land in 1893 to Francis Meston who planned to engineer a community, Daugherty stayed to oversee land sales in Meston’s Houston office and set aside a plot of land for a cemetery. In 1894 Harris County recognized the minute community, as surveyor deemed it the Town of Dairy, Texas. In 1895, in an attempt to obtain a post office, Dairy was forced to change its name in order to avoid confusion with a town named Daisy. Dairy was renamed in honor of Alief Ozelda Magee, the country's first postmistress.[2] At that time Alief was home to 25, and had its first schoolhouse, with two rooms so as to segregate the children.[3] Magee's burial site is at the intersection of Bellaire Boulevard and Dairy Ashford Road in Houston.[4]

The Railroad Depot 1902

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 (to this day still the deadliest natural disaster in US history) destroyed the Methodist Church and cotton crops, and relocating 24 of the 30 families that resided in Alief. As a direct result of relocation the town reverted to prairie and wolves openly roamed during the daytime. Daugherty saw a positive in the disaster, he persuade the remaining 6 families that rice has better suited to grow in Alief’s flood plains and spent his own money to help cultivate the first crops. Daugherty achieved success his rice became an instant cash crop that persuaded many to reside in Alief. The following year Alief’s first immigrant families arrived in Alief, a small group of Germans, and in 1904 the majority of those who left in the wake of The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 returned. The rapid growth period created a commercial district along the railroad tracks, convincing the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway to construct a depot.[citation needed]

Due to its flood proneness, in 1909 Harris County decided to establish the Harris County Flood Control District in Alief. In 1911 the Dairy School District was establish and built a three-story school. In 1912 AJ Martin settled in Alief and built his home on Cook Road, later he turned his front yard into a pet cemetery.(Which is now a dump truck parking lot.) In 1917 Dairy School District became Alief Independent School District, that same year the Hastings family, Shop keeps, became postmasters. By 1920 a few Alief residents had automobiles.[citation needed]

Development & Urbanization

In 1934 Daugherty promoted the Cane Belt Canal, as it reached Alief it resulted in a resurgence of rice as the Alief cash crop. 1935, Alief obtained electricity and later 1943, telephone service. Population fluctuated wildly, in he 1930s Alief’s population fell from 112 to 35; the population then increased to 200 by 1942. In 1964, Alief ISD built its new school district building and its oldest remaining high school Alief Hastings High School. During the 1970s the area rapidly urbanized and developed as an important suburb of Houston. The community's population increased by a factor of four between 1970 and 1985.[citation needed]

The 1970s were a prosperous time for the area as Houston continued to grow and newcomers from around the country and around the world moved in searching for safe suburban communities outside of Houston. During this time the City of Houston began proceedings to annex the area. The community launched a furious effort to incorporate Alief as a city in its own right in order to avoid a perceived danger that annexation would lead to neglect by Houston's government. Despite these efforts Houston had succeeded in annexing most of the area by the mid 1980s. Much of the original community fled shortly afterward.[citation needed]

Aerial view of Alief in 1977

The 1980s were a tumultuous period for Southwest Houston. The once luxurious and innovative as a master planned built neighborhood of Sharpstown was sabotaged by rival investors who built a neighborhood of rundown apartment complexes in 1970. The development of apartments was hailed Westwood/Club Creek and became home to many poor families that came from the depleted wards of Downtown Houston.[citation needed] This led to a sharp drop in Sharpstown land values and which angered many land developers, who sought for justice, as judges handed out indictments and found political corruption as high as the Governor of Texas.[5] As the late 1980s came around the general population of Houston took a boost as an effect of gains in the petroleum industry. Also in the 1980s drug trafficking became more prosperous. Gangs sprung up in Southwest leading to extreme violence.[citation needed] In Los Angeles the annual murder count during the 1980s and early 1990s exceeded 1000 in Houston they surpassed the 700 mark in 1981.[6] As desirability of Sharpstown and Woodfair fell, Alief, across the Beltway, was rising in desirability in the perspective of minority families, once again prompting white flight in Alief.[6] Through out the 1990s Alief was at its most underdeveloped and impoverished state. Most of Alief was still empty grasslands fields with potential lacking investment, and still home to a cattle ranch. The period of white flight also meant businesses left Alief in profound numbers, this left the plazas that lined the main streets with several vacancies. As time took its toll Alief’s Hispanic residents were the first to invest in their cultural base (New Chinatown was still confined by the Beltway), as they saved money to bring their families to Alief most immigrant workers saved enough to also establish business that could cater to their nationalities. Well-known Houston business like Panaderia Arandas, La Michocana, and Ninfa's were established around this time.[citation needed]

A New Alief

From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 Census, many African-Americans left traditional African-American neighborhoods and entered parts of Southwest Houston, such as Alief. In addition many Asian-Americans entered Alief, creating one of the largest Asian-American concentrations in Houston. [7]

The Latin American and Asian immigrants, notably from Vietnam, China, and the Philippines, moved to Alief. Alief is also home to large African, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean populations; and more recently a minute black European population. As the 2000s rolled in the population kept steady grow from 1990 to 2005 Alief’s population saw a 45% increase and in some areas over 70%[1] (Near Highway 6).

The new millennium has been a new era for Alief, the immigrant population’s investments have blossomed and the empty lots that have plagued Alief eradicated. New Chinatown created Hong Kong Mall on Boone Road, but still confined by the Beltway. On the other Hand, Little Saigon a new district, dominates the Alief skyline along Bellaire Blvd, bring new and highly profitable business. Many of the Latin American business are now citywide. The Pakistani community has plans of a mall of their own, located at the corner of Kirkwood & Bissonnet. The Nigerian and Caribbean communities own cultural catering grocery store and dancehalls along Bissonnet. There is also a large concentration of Filipino businesses along Bissonnet and Cook Road.

As each community makes it advance Alief also has encountered problems. Alief teen residents have also formed their "Cliques" and other gangs to watch out for others. Among these, one known as "S.W.A.T." (South West Alief, Texas) was given its name due to its location. In 2005, Alief became home to the majority of the Katrina evacuees, causing an escalation of gang violence that attributed to 30% of Houston murders in 2005.[8] Alief ISD also taught the highest percentage of Katrina evacuees in 2005 and spent over $12 million to accommodate them. The United States government promised to reimburse the district, but as of 2006 Alief had not yet received the money.[9]

Allen G. Breed of the Associated Press wrote: "Alief is an impoverished, multicultural enclave where many of the business and street signs are in both English and one of several Asian languages. The district's 47,000 students speak nearly 70 tongues, and the number of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch over 90%."[9]

Government

Municipal

The portion of Alief in Houston is within Super Neighborhood #25 Alief; its recognized council was established on June 25, 2000.[10] Each super neighborhood represents a group of civic clubs, places of worship, businesses, and other institutions and community interests.[11]

City Council District F, covers the Alief area in Houston.[12] As of 2008 M. J. Khan represents the district.[13] By December 3, 1991, increases in crime and changes of demographics in southwestern Houston neighborhoods lead to many challengers desiring to fill the city council seat of District F.[14]

In the first 1991 Mayor of Houston election most Alief voters voted for Bob Lanier; in the community Sylvester Turner, Lanier's opponent, had a large second-most following in terms of votes.[15][16]

County

Alief is within Harris County Precinct 3. As of 2008 Steve Radack serves as the commissioner of that precinct.[17]

The El Franco Lee Health Center in Alief, operated by the Harris County Hospital District, opened on May 19, 2009.[18] Prior to the opening of the Alief facility, the closest health center was the People's Health Center. The district said in a 2006 Houston Chronicle article that it planned to build a health care facility in Alief.[19] The center has 66,000 square feet (6,100 m2) of space.[20]

State representation

Alief lies within the boundaries of Texas House of Representatives District 149, Currently held by Hubert Vo. Hubert Vo is the first person of Vietnamese heritage to be elected to the Texas Legislature and was named Freshman of the Year by the non-partisan Legislative Study Group. Vo was elected in 2004, defeating the incumbent Republican, Talmadge Heflin by the razor-thin margin of 20,695 to 20,662. Talmadge Heflin had previously held the position for 22 years.

National representation

Alief Post Office

Alief is within the boundaries of Texas's 9th congressional district of the US Congress. Currently held by Democrat Al Green a New Orleans native, Alpha Phi Alpha Greek, and former President of the Houston NAACP, of whom lives in the district of Alief. He ran a successful campaign in 2004 to defeat Republican Arlette Molina by over a 40% Margin[2]. The United States Postal Service operates the Alief Post Office at 11936 Bellaire Boulevard.[21]

Demographics and economy

The City of Houston stated on its website that the "legendary diversity" in Alief "is evident in the large section of Asian residents and businesses along Bellaire Boulevard." Alief also has many African American and Hispanic and Latino American communities.[22]

Education

Primary and secondary schools

Alief Independent School District headquarters

Public schools

Despite being located in Houston, it is not served by the Houston Independent School District, instead the Alief Independent School District serves the area. High schools in Alief ISD are assigned by a lottery, which can result in the student going to either Alief Elsik High School, Alief Hastings High School, or Alief Taylor High School. They can also choose to apply for admission to Alief Kerr High School.[23]

Charter Schools

KIPP: the Knowledge Is Power Program operates several charter schools along KIPP Way, within the boundaries of Alief ISD; the schools are not affiliated with Alief ISD.

Alief Montessori Community School, a PreKindergarten through 3rd grade charter school, is also located in Alief.

Community colleges

HCC Alief Campus in Westchase

The Houston Community College System has served the Alief area since 1982.[24] The HCC Alief Campus, a part of the Southwest College,[25] is located at 2811 Hayes Road in the Westchase area of Houston.[24][26] The HCC Alief Continuing Education Center is located at 13803 Bissonnet Road in an unincorporated area in Harris County.[24] In 1982 HCCS expanded classes to Alief Elsik High School. In 2001 HCCS opened the Alief Center on Bissonnet. In 2007 the new Alief Campus in Westchase opened. In 2008 the former Alief Center became the Continuing Education Center.[24]

Public libraries

The David M. Henington-Alief Regional Branch of Houston Public Library is in Alief.[27] The branch is located at 7979 South Kirkwood Street.[28]

Emergency services

Fire service

Residents of the City of Houston receive fire services from the Houston Fire Department. The 76 Alief Community Station, located at 7200 Cook Road, opened in 1985.[29]

For residents of unincorporated Harris County, fire and EMS services are provided by Community Volunteer Fire Department, a combination career and volunteer fire suppression and EMS provider which operates two stations in the Alief area at 4101 C Street and 16003 Bellaire Boulevard.[30]

Police services

Residents within the City of Houston receive police services from the Houston Police Department, which has Alief in the Westside Patrol Division, headquartered at 3203 South Dairy Ashford Road.[31][32]

Harris County Sheriff's Office serves unincorporated sections of Harris County. The Alief area outside of Houston is within the District IV Patrol Bureau, headquartered at the Clay Road Substation at 16715 Clay Road.[33][34] The Mission Bend Storefront is located at 7043 Highway 6 South.[34]

Transportation

METRO provides local bus services to the area. Routes Include:

  • 2 Bellaire (to Mission Bend)
  • 4 Beechnut
  • 8 South Main
  • 19 Wilcrest Crosstown
  • 65 Bissonnet
  • 67 Dairy Ashford Crosstown
  • 68 Braes Bayou Crosstown
  • 132 Harwin Limited

Parks and recreation

Alief Community Park

The City of Houston operates Alief Community Park, Boone Park, and Harwin Park.[10]

Harris County operates the 1.25 acre Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park at 4025 Eldridge Parkway; the park includes a .6 mile trail.[35] The park, located on part of a Harris County Flood Control District site acquired in 1988, opened and was dedicated on June 11, 1999. The park was named after Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston bishop Joseph Fiorenza.[36] The county operates the 175 acre Arthur Storey Park at 7400 West Sam Houston Parkway South (Beltway 8).[37] In August 1995 the Harris County Flood Control District began acquiring land along the Brays Bayou, and in October of that year it agreed to allow the establishment of a park, called Brays Bayou Park, along that property. The commissioners court voted to rename the park in January 1997. The park opened and was dedicated on September 26, 1997.[38] Harris County operates the 11 acre Alief-Amity Park at 12509 Alief Clodine Road; the park has a .17 mile trail.[39] In 1975 the county acquired what is now the park site from the Cloud family; the park was dedicated in the early 1980s.[40]

Gallery of Parks

See also


References

  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Residents roll up their sleeves to preserve history." KTRK-TV. October 22, 2006.
  3. ^ "History of Alief, Texas." Handbook of Texas at Alief Independent School District. Accessed October 6, 2008.
  4. ^ Lomax, John Nova. "I am a Pedestrian Report: Bellaire." Houston Press. May 25, 2007.
  5. ^ "Texas: The Founder." TIME. Monday February 15, 1971. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.
  6. ^ a b King, Wayne. "F.B.I. SAYS CRIME IS DOWN IN U.S. BUT HOUSTON REPORTS RISE OF 17%." The New York Times. October 20, 1982. Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 20, Column 1. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.
  7. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "Census tracks rapid growth of suburbia." Houston Chronicle. Sunday March 10, 1991. Section A, Page 1.
  8. ^ Leahy, Jennifer. "Homicide rate on track to be worst in a decade." Houston Chronicle. October 21, 2006.
  9. ^ a b Breed, Allen G. "Evacuee students find ways to fit in, make best of dislocation." Associated Press. April 9, 2006.
  10. ^ a b "Super Neighborhood #25 Alief." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  11. ^ "Proclamation." Super Neighborhood Alliance. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  12. ^ "COUNCIL DISTRICT MAPS > DISTRICT F." City of Houston. Retrieved on October 27, 2008.
  13. ^ "City Council." City of Houston. Retrieved on May 10, 2008.
  14. ^ Johnson, Stephen. "Crime, drugs main issues in Dist. F race." Houston Chronicle. November 3, 1991. Voter's Guide, Page 5.
  15. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "Saying goodbye, with no regrets." Houston Chronicle. Saturday November 9, 1991. A31.
  16. ^ Bernstein, Alan and Jim Simmon. "Black vote went solidly for Turner/Whitmire failed to produce split." Houston Chronicle. Thursday November 7, 1991. A21.
  17. ^ "Precinct Maps : Precinct 3." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 15, 2008.
  18. ^ "El Franco Lee Health Center." Harris County Hospital District. Accessed April 26, 2009.
  19. ^ Kumar, Seshadri. "County plans Alief health center / Twelve-acre facility would be largest in HCHD." Houston Chronicle. Thursday October 26, 2006. ThisWeek 5. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
  20. ^ "HCHD Set to Open New El Franco Lee Health Center in Alief." Harris County Hospital District. Retrieved on March 18, 2010.
  21. ^ "Post Office Location - ALIEF." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on December 4, 2008.
  22. ^ "Super Neighborhood #25 - Alief." City of Houston. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.
  23. ^ "Registration." Audrey Judy Bush Elementary School. Retrieved on April 22, 2009.
  24. ^ a b c d "HCC provides opportunity and education for the Alief community." Houston Community College System. Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  25. ^ "HCC Southwest College." Houston Community College. Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  26. ^ "SECT2-key.gif." Westchase. Retrieved on April 8, 2009.
  27. ^ "HPL's Named Buildings." Houston Public Library. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  28. ^ "Henington-Alief Regional Library." Houston Public Library. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  29. ^ "Fire Station 76." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  30. ^ "Territory Map." Community Volunteer Fire Department. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  31. ^ "Westside Patrol Division. City of Houston. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  32. ^ "VOLUNTEER INITIATIVES PROGRAM - Citizens Offering Police Support." City of Houston. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  33. ^ District IV Patrol Map. Harris County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  34. ^ a b "District IV." Harris County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  35. ^ "Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  36. ^ "Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Park : History." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  37. ^ "Arthur Storey Park." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  38. ^ "Arthur Storey Park : History." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  39. ^ "Alief-Amity Park (11 Acres)." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
  40. ^ "Alief-Amity Park : History." Harris County, Texas. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.

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