When the city of Houston comes to mind, people think of gleaming glass skyscrapers, huge sports arenas, and fast traffic. It may surprise visitors to note that just three miles from downtown there is an enchanting historic community called Norhill that blends old-fashioned charm with an eclectic urban vibe that makes it a neighborhood to watch to those seeking to relocate to the lone star state.
The neighborhood was named Norhill as it located in direction uphill from downtown. In the 1923s a real estate investor named William C. Hogg bought 388 tracts of land to develop. Mr. Hogg, the son of Texas’s first Texas-born governor Jim Hogg, knew a good deal when he saw it. The area was accessible both by streetcar and automobile and provided a hometown feel for those residents who wanted to stay near the city wanted the cozy atmosphere a suburban neighborhood, according to Norhill Bungalow.
History or Norhill
Back in the 1920s, you could order bungalow house plan kits from the Sears and Robuck company. Bungalows are simple homes that are built to be sturdy and practical. Although the houses were uniform in their simplicity, a home builder could buy plans or a ready to assemble kits for a Craftsman, Colonial, or Spanish style bungalow. The target customers were the new working class residents who didn’t mind putting lots of sweat equity into their first home. To see the incredibly cheap prices of these home plans as they were sold in the early 20th century.
The kits came with simple to follow floor plans and the materials needed to build the structure. In 1922 you could construct a Betsy Ross model 4 bedroom, one bath home for the price $1.499, about the average cost of a month’s rent for a luxury one bedroom apartment in today’s Houston housing market. Shipped right to your door by rail, these homes went up all over Norhill and became its distinctive glory. With a sewer system in place, and located along a railroad line, Norhill had everything to offer for those who wanted their little part of the American Dream. These bungalow homes are still the defining feature of Norhill, and what was once housing for the working class have been adopted, refurbished and are now the pride of the elite chic modern Houstonites.
The Norhill tour of Historic Homes is an event sponsored by the Norhill Historic Preservation Society. Deed restrictions keep residents from changing the outside of the houses but the interior has every modern convenience that folks in the early 20th century could never imagine. None of the historic homes on the showplace trail are for sale, says the Houston Chronicle. Many of these homes have deeds that go back 90 years.
Nearly everything about Norhill has been preserved except for the prices. If you are lucky enough to find a bungalow home for sale in Norhill, prices for a 2 bedroom one bath range from $320K to $490K and a three bedroom two bath for $345K to $725K. The average lots size ranges from 5,100 to 5200 SF. As the area is deed restricted, there is no new housing construction in the historic area, according to http://www.richmartinhomes.com/neighborhoods/norhill-homes. The Norhill Neighborhood Association details the strict guidelines for remodeling projects. The economic demographic of the neighborhood has drastically changed since it was first conceived. It is known for its trendy markets, hip coffee houses and also an occasional visit by ZZ Top and other classic bands at the Norwood Music Festival. For a small community, they have a wide assortment of dining experiences, from Wine Bars, Oyster restaurants, and Tex-Mex cafes’.
The Norhill neighborhood covers a little over 4 square miles and has approximately 23,948 residents. The median age of the residents is 36.The median household income in the area is $81,335. As expected, most of the residents own their own homes, according to Address Report. Statistics compiled at Find the Home say that compared to Houston as a whole, residents of Norhill have a significantly higher percentage of college graduates with 35% attaining graduate degrees.
Schools in Norhill are part of the Houston Independent School District. The two area schools that serve Norhill are Robert Browning Elementary School and Eugene Field Elementary School. Both schools have been noted as “Schools of Distinction” by the Texas Education Agency. James Hogg Middle School, located inside the Norhill neighborhood, was named after the Texas Governor, not his son the real estate barren. Hogg Middle is a magnet school for computer science and technology. Reagan High School is located right outside of Norhill has a community rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Great Schools.com. Norhill residents can also attend the acclaimed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Up and Coming
Norhill made Business Insider’s list of the top ten hottest up and coming neighborhoods 2016. This site listed the median home price in Norhill $499,500, which is a contrast to Houston where the median price for a home is $216,300. Although Norhill is part of Houston, it is still an attractive hideaway for those who want the best Houston has offer without the hustle and bustle of living downtown. Houston’s Norhill section has been compared to Hyde Park in Austin, which also made Business Insider’s list, for its unique vibe and cozy neighborhood vibe within a wired Texas city.
With the average Norhill home only lasting 40 days on the market, this is indeed an area to watch. With its rich Texas heritage, proximity to Houston, and good schools for young families, The income and education demographics may have changed, but Norhill is still a tribute to Old Texas, where those searching for a new life came to buy a little plot of land and build a home from a catalog kit. Norhill is a choice neighborhood for educated professionals who can afford the price tag.