Brays Bayou is a slow-moving river in Harris County, Texas. A major tributary of Buffalo Bayou, the Brays flows for 31 miles (50 km) from the western edge of the county, south of Barker Reservoir along the border with Fort Bend County, east to its convergence with the Buffalo at Harrisburg. Nearly all of the river is located within the city of Houston; it is a defining geographic feature of many neighborhoods and districts, including Meyerland, Braeswood Place, the Texas Medical Center, and Riverside Terrace.
As a result of its central route through Harris County, the Brays Bayou watershed is heavily urbanized. Over 700,000 people reside within its 129-square-mile (330 km2) drainage area, which contains 124 miles (200 km) of open-channel waterway, mostly from artificial drainage channels. This high level of development, combined with a relative lack of flood control infrastructure, means Brays Bayou is extremely prone to flash flooding events.
Braes Bayou, Bray's Bayou
Almeda Road bridge over Brays Bayou near Hermann Park.
|⁃ location||Western Harris County|
|Length||31 miles (50 km)|
|Basin size||129 square miles (330 km2)|
|⁃ left||Harris Gully|
|⁃ right||Willow Waterhole Bayou, Keegans Bayou|
The origin of the name Brays Bayou is unclear, and the alternate spellings Braes and Bray's have been used throughout its history, most prominently in Braeswood Place, a neighborhood which straddles the bayou southwest of Rice University, and Braeswood Boulevard, which runs along the river between Interstate 610 and Texas State Highway 288.
Braeswood may have originated from the Scottish word brae, for hill or slope. An early settler along Brays Bayou, Henry MacGregor (the namesake of MacGregor Drive in the Third Ward), may have coined the name.
The name Brays has been used to describe the river since the arrival of the Old Three Hundred at Stephen F. Austin's colony in the 1820s. In 1822, a man named Bray settled along the bayou, possibly providing its name.
Brays Bayou has its source at an artificial stormwater detention basin south of Barker Reservoir in extreme western Harris County. It flows eastward, north of Mission Bend and parallel to the Westpark Tollway, into Alief. After briefly entering Westchase, the Brays turns southward, bisects the International District, and straddles the western edge of Sharpstown. After passing under Interstate 69, the bayou flows east-northeast through Meyerland, underneath the Interstate 610 loop, and past the Texas Medical Center and Hermann Park. The bayou passes under State Highway 288, enters the Third Ward, and exits into the East End after passing under Interstate 45. Significantly wider at this point, Brays Bayou then empties into Buffalo Bayou at the Houston Ship Channel and historic townsite of Harrisburg.
The confluence of Brays and Buffalo bayous was the original focal point for Anglo-American settlement in the region with the founding of Harrisburg in 1825. In 1836, Houston was founded upstream Buffalo Bayou at the confluence with White Oak Bayou. Harrisburg would remain the region's primary trade center until after the American Civil War, when economic momentum shifted to Houston.
Other early settlements along Brays Bayou included Riceville, founded in 1850, and Alief, founded in 1861. Frequent flooding along the Brays made its floodplain ideal for growing rice, which became a cash crop in Alief through the early 20th century. As a result of its familiarity with flooding, Alief was home to the region's first flood control district, which was created in 1909.
By the first half of the 20th century, suburbs of Houston had reached the banks of Brays Bayou. Rice University was established on a large plot of land adjacent to Harris Gully, a tributary of the bayou, in 1912, and the University of Houston was established just north of the bayou in the Third Ward in 1927. Harrisburg was annexed by the city in 1926. During the 1930s, Riverside Terrace, south of the Third Ward, became home to the large forested estates of Houston's wealthy Jewish community, which had been segregated out of River Oaks. The Texas Medical Center began in the 1940s with the construction of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Meyerland, located immediately west of the southwest corner of Interstate 610, was opened in 1955 as one of Houston's first master-planned communities. Brays Bayou continues to serve as a greenway connecting these affluent neighborhoods and districts.
Like many other Houston bayous, Brays Bayou was channelized by the United States Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1960 after severe flooding earlier in the decade. By 1980, the Brays Bayou watershed was home to a population of over 412,000, and inadequate drainage infrastructure was still a major concern. A 1976 flood caused major damage to the Medical Center, Rice University, the University of Houston, and institutions in the Museum District. Beginning in the 1970s, the Harris County Flood Control District began implementing restrictions on upstream development to reduce the likelihood of flooding.
In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison, the most destructive tropical storm in U.S. history, devastated the Brays Bayou watershed. 6,000 homes along the Brays were flooded, and the Texas Medical Center was inundated, damaging important medical facilities. Damage to the University of Texas Health Science Center alone exceeded $740 million ($1 billion in 2018 dollars).
In May 2015, an extreme rainfall event flooded over 400 homes in Meyerland. One year later, in April 2016, the neighborhood was again impacted by floods. In 2017, the area was hit by significantly more severe flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.
The Brays Bayou Federal Flood Risk Reduction Project, also known as Project Brays, is an ongoing $480 million project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to retrofit the Brays Bayou watershed with new and improved flood control infrastructure. Overall, the project includes 75 individual components, including deepening and widening 21 miles (34 km) of the bayou, modifying or reconstructing 30 road bridges, and constructing four large stormwater detention basins with a total capacity of 3.5 billion US gallons (13×109 L).
Planning for Project Brays began in 1988 when the Army Corps of Engineers released a cost–benefit analysis for a flood damage reduction project in the Brays watershed. The Harris County Flood Control District took over planning and implementation of the project in 1998, and construction began in 2001. The project, which has a tentative completion date of 2021, has been continuously delayed by gaps in federal funding, though the urgency of the 2015 and 2016 floods has hastened efforts to complete it.
The Brays Bayou Greenway serves as an important linear park through a broad region of Houston, providing 30 miles (48 km) of grade-separated hike-and-bike trails. Under the City of Houston's Bayou Greenways 2020 project, Brays Bayou has been the focus of a number of projects to fill gaps in the trail network, add new park space, and provide increased connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods and across the bayou.
Public parks which connect to the greenway include (from west to east): Mike Driscoll Park, Arthur Storey Park, Hermann Park, MacGregor Park, and Mason Park. Arthur Storey Park doubles as a large stormwater detention basin which can hold up to 1.1 billion US gallons (4.2×109 L) (about 3376 acre feet) of water during flood events.
The Almeda Road Bridge over Brays Bayou is a bridge located in Houston, Texas and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was designed by J. G. McKenzie and Don Hall Constructors and is one of the last continuous span concrete girder bridges to be designed during the City Beautiful movement.Braeburn, Houston
Braeburn is a community of subdivisions in southwest Houston, Texas along Brays Bayou west of Hillcroft Avenue and south of the Sharpstown community. The first of these middle class subdivisions was developed after World War II at a time when the Richmond Farm-to-Market Road (later renamed as Bissonnet Street) provided the route into the city, rather than U.S. Highway 59. Development continued into the 1970s. The Braeburn Country Club is located in the center of the community. Subdivisions found here include Robindell, Braeburn Terrace, Braeburn Glen, Larkwood, Braeburn Valley, Bonham Acres, Braes Timbers and—the acreage lot subdivision—Brae Acres. The area also includes commercial and multi-family developments.
Braeburn is notable for its large number of mid-century modern homes, tree lined streets, and location close to the Galleria, the Texas Medical Center, Reliant Park, the major freeways- 59, 610 and the Beltway. The communities of Braeburn have in recent years formed the Braeburn Superneighborhood, a coalition of Home Owner Associations, in order to interact more effectively with the City of Houston and other area agencies. The Brays Bayou hike and bike trail runs through the community, providing easy access to over 15 miles of excellent trails.Braeswood Place, Houston
Braeswood Place is a group of subdivisions in Harris County, Texas, United States. The vast majority of the land is in Houston while a small part is in Southside Place.
Braeswood Place is a mainly single-family neighborhood inside the 610 Loop, east of the city of Bellaire, south of the cities of Southside Place and West University Place, west of the Texas Medical Center and the neighborhood of Old Braeswood, and north of the neighborhoods of Linkwood and Knollwood Village. Braeswood Place consists of approximately 2,200 homes and includes seven subdivisions: Ayrshire, Braes Heights, Braes Oaks, Braes Manor, Braes Terrace, Emerald Forest, and Southern Oaks.Buffalo Bayou
Buffalo Bayou is a slow-moving river which flows through Houston in Harris County, Texas. Formed 18,000 years ago, it has its source in the prairie surrounding Katy, Fort Bend County, and flows approximately 53 miles (85 km) east through the Houston Ship Channel into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to drainage water impounded and released by the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, the bayou is fed by natural springs, surface runoff, and several significant tributary bayous, including White Oak Bayou, Greens Bayou, and Brays Bayou. Additionally, Buffalo Bayou is considered a tidal river downstream of a point 440 yards (400 m) west of the Shepherd Drive bridge in west-central Houston.As the principal river of Greater Houston, the Buffalo Bayou watershed is heavily urbanized. Its 102-square-mile (260 km2) direct drainage area contains a population of over 440,000. Including tributaries, the bayou has a watershed area of approximately 500 square miles (1,300 km2).Geography of Houston
Houston, the most populous city in the Southern United States, is located along the upper Texas Gulf Coast, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston. The city, which is the ninth-largest in the United States by area, covers 601.7 square miles (1,558 km2), of which 579.4 square miles (1,501 km2), or 96.3%, is land and 22.3 square miles (58 km2), or 3.7%, is water.Houston is located in the Gulf Coastal Plain biome, and its vegetation is classified as temperate grassland. Much of the city was built on marshes, forested land, swamp, or prairie, all of which can still be seen in surrounding areas.
The city's topography is very flat, making flooding a recurring problem for its residents. The city stands about 50 feet (15 m) above sea level—the highest area within city limits being 90 feet (27 m). However, subsidence, caused by extensive groundwater pumping and resource extraction, has caused the elevation to drop 10 feet (3.0 m) or more in certain areas. As a result, the city turned to surface water sources for its municipal supply, creating reservoirs such as Lake Houston and Lake Conroe (of which Houston owns two-thirds interest).
Houston has four major bayous passing through the city: Buffalo Bayou, which runs into downtown and the Houston Ship Channel; and three of its tributaries: Brays Bayou, which runs along the Texas Medical Center; White Oak Bayou, which runs through the Heights and near the northwest area; and Sims Bayou, which runs through the south of Houston and downtown Houston. The ship channel goes past Galveston and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Houston is located 165 miles (266 km) east of Austin, 112 miles (180 km) west of the Louisiana border and 250 miles (400 km) south of Dallas.Harrisburg, Houston
Harrisburg is a community that is now (originally documented as Harrisburgh, then shortened to Harrisburg in 1892) located within the city of Houston, Texas, United States.
The community is located east of downtown Houston, south of the Brays Bayou and Buffalo Bayou junction, and west of Brady's Island. It was founded before 1825 on the eastern stretches of the Buffalo Bayou in present-day Harris County, Texas, on land belonging to John Richardson Harris. In 1926, Harrisburg was annexed into the city of Houston. The original name of Harris County was Harrisburg (Harrisburgh) County until it was shortened after the demise of the City of Harrisburg. Historical markers at the John Richardson Harris site tell of Santa Anna's razing the town on his way through chasing Houston and his retreating army just before they reached Lynch's ferry.Hermann Park
Hermann Park is a 445-acre (180-hectare) urban park in Houston, Texas, situated at the southern end of the Museum District. The park is located immediately north of the Texas Medical Center and Brays Bayou, east of Rice University, and slightly west of the Third Ward. Hermann Park is home to numerous cultural institutions including the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Hermann Park Golf Course, which became one of the first desegregated public golf courses in the United States in 1954. The park also features the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, numerous gardens, picnic areas, and McGovern Lake, an 8-acre (32,000 m2) recreational lake.One of Houston's oldest public parks, Hermann Park was first envisoined as part of a comprehensive urban planning effort by the city of Houston in the early 1910s. Following the recommendation of a 1913 report which identified the then-rural area between Main Street and Brays Bayou as ideal for a large urban park, real estate investor and entrepreneur George H. Hermann, who owned most of the area and served on the city's parks board, bequeathed his estate to Houston for use as a public green space in 1914. By 1916, famed landscape architect George Kessler had completed a master plan for the park which was gradually implemented throughout the following decades. Ultimately, Hermann Park and Rice University are two clear expressions of the City Beautiful movement in Houston.The opening of the Houston Zoo in the mid-1920s and the requisition of a large southern portion of the park for the establishment of the Texas Medical Center in the 1940s fundamentally altered the scope and configuration of the space, though significant elements of the Kessler plan—such as the north-south axis extending from Montrose Boulevard—remain and have been expanded upon. Hermann Park experienced a period of neglect in the latter half of the 20th century due to a lack of funding and maintenance, spurring the formation of the nonprofit Hermann Park Conservancy in 1992. The Conservancy has since leveraged over $120 million of public and private funds to renovate and remake broad areas of the park. Today, Hermann Park welcomes over six million visitors annually; the Houston Zoo was the second most visited paid-admission zoo in the United States in 2016 (behind San Diego Zoo), with over 2.5 million visitors.Hermann Park is served by the Hermann Park / Rice University station on the METRORail Red Line, which runs along Fannin Street at the western edge of the park.Howellville, Texas
Howellville or Howell is an unincorporated community in Harris County, Texas, United States, which has been absorbed by Greater Houston. The site is located at the intersection of Alief Clodine Road and Sugar Land Howell Road on the west side of Houston, approximately halfway between the original settlements of Clodine and Alief. There are no road signs identifying the place. The community began as a stop on a railroad line that no longer exists.Idylwood, Houston
Idylwood is a historic neighborhood in the southeastern part of the I-610 loop in Houston, Texas. Idylwood, as of 2012, is the most expensive neighborhood in the East End. As of that year its houses were priced between $142,000 and $396,000. It currently has approximately 340 homes. Bill England, a redeveloper in the East End area, stated in 2004 that Idylwood appealed to buyers who are priced out of houses located in the cities of Bellaire and West University Place.List of Houston neighborhoods
The city of Houston, Texas, contains a large number of neighborhoods, ranging from planned communities to historic wards. There is no uniform standard for what constitutes an individual neighborhood within the city; however, the city of Houston does recognize a list of 88 super neighborhoods which encompass broadly recognized regions. According to the city, a super neighborhood is a "geographically designated area where residents, civic organizations, institutions and businesses work together to identify, plan, and set priorities to address the needs and concerns of their community."A list of the super neighborhoods, in the numerical order as assigned by the city, is shown below:
In addition to the recognized super neighborhoods, Houston is further divided into a number of other formal and informal regions, including special districts and individual subdivisions. An incomplete list of these communities and jurisdictions is provided below.List of bridges on the National Register of Historic Places in Texas
This is a list of bridges currently on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. state of Texas.Meyerland, Houston
Meyerland is a 6,000-acre (9 sq mi) community in southwest Houston, Texas, outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8. The neighborhood is named after the Meyer family, who bought and owned 6,000 acres (24 km²) of land in southwest Houston.
Meyerland is the center of Houston's Jewish community; the Meyerland area is the home of Houston's Jewish Community Center, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, and several smaller synagogues. The area is also home to Meyerland Plaza, a large outdoor shopping center.
Meyerland is almost entirely located within the 100-year floodplain, and houses are prone to flooding during heavy rain events. Meyerland was inundated during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and stories and images of the flooded community were prominent in media coverage of the natural disaster in Houston.Large scale flood mitigation projects are underway which will greatly benefit Meyerland. Chief amongst such projects is Project Brays, a $400m mega scale flood mitigation project which will remove several Meyerland homes from 100 year flood plain.
Circa 2018 several new homes are being built in Meyerland and the neighborhood is seeing strong new home construction. Luxury homes over $1m in value are being built several feet above the minimum base flood elevation.National Register of Historic Places listings in inner Harris County, Texas
This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places in inner Harris County, Texas, defined as within the I-610 loop within Harris County, Texas, but excluding those places in Downtown Houston and those in Houston Heights, which are listed separately. (Downtown Houston is defined as the area enclosed by Interstate 10, Interstate 45, and Interstate 69. Houston Heights is defined, approximately, by Highway I-10 on the South, I-610 on the North, 45 on the East and Durham on the West.)
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted July 18, 2019.The locations of National Register properties and districts (at least for all showing latitude and longitude coordinates below) may be seen in a map by clicking on "Map of all coordinates."Old Braeswood, Houston
Old Braeswood is a neighborhood of single family homes in Houston, Texas, United States. It is generally bounded by South Main, North Braeswood, Kirby Drive, and Holcombe. The Texas Medical Center, Rice University, Rice Village, and the NRG Center complex are all within a one-mile radius. Nearby neighborhoods include Southgate, West University Place and Braeswood Place.Established as “Braeswood” by Braeswood Corporation in 1928 and renamed “Old Braeswood” in 1982, the neighborhood exhibits architectural styles from two distinctively different periods. The neighborhood is composed of three sections. In Section 1 and the southernmost streets of Braeswood Addition, the houses were built primarily in the late 1920s and the 1930s. In Braeswood Extension, the houses were built primarily in the 1950s. The three northernmost streets in Braeswood Addition were also built in the 1950s. This diversity and quality of the architecture prompted the National Trust for Historic Preservation to select Old Braeswood for its annual Candlelight Tour organized in conjunction with Houston Mod during its 2016 national convention held in Houston, Texas.Old Braeswood is distinguished not only by its architecture, but also by residents such as those described below under "Notable former residents."
In 2016, the median house cost was $1,255,000.Riverside Terrace, Houston
Riverside Terrace is a neighborhood in Houston, Texas, United States. The neighborhood is bounded by Almeda, North MacGregor, Scott, and Wheeler. The community, formerly an affluent Jewish neighborhood, is now a predominantly African American neighborhood with different income levels. It has been undergoing a gradual change in demographics and aesthetics due to gentrification and revitalization efforts since the early 2000s.Some articles of the Houston Chronicle describe it as within the Third Ward, while some articles discuss Riverside Terrace as being a separate community.Stormwater
Stormwater, also spelled storm water, is water that originates during precipitation events and snow/ice melt. Stormwater can soak into the soil (infiltrate), be held on the surface and evaporate, or runoff and end up in nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies (surface water).
In natural landscapes such as forests, the soil absorbs much of the stormwater and plants help hold stormwater close to where it falls. In developed environments, unmanaged stormwater can create two major issues: one related to the volume and timing of runoff water (flooding) and the other related to potential contaminants that the water is carrying (water pollution).
Stormwater is also an important resource as the world's human population demand exceeds the availability of readily available water. Techniques of stormwater harvesting with point source water management and purification can potentially make urban environments self-sustaining in terms of water.Texas Medical Center
The Texas Medical Center (TMC) is a 2.1-square-mile (5.4 km2) medical district and neighborhood in south-central Houston, Texas, immediately south of the Museum District and west of Texas State Highway 288. Over sixty medical institutions, largely concentrated in a triangular area between Brays Bayou, Rice University, and Hermann Park, are members of the Texas Medical Center Corporation—a non-profit umbrella organization—which constitutes the largest medical complex in the world. The TMC has an extremely high density of clinical facilities for patient care, basic science, and translational research.The Texas Medical Center employs over 106,000 people, hosts 10 million patient encounters annually, and has a gross domestic product of US$25 billion. Over the decades, the TMC has expanded south of Brays Bayou towards NRG Park, and the organization has developed ambitious plans for a new "innovation campus" south of the river. The 4.93-square-mile (12.8 km2) Medical Center / Astrodome area, highly populated with medical workers, is home to over 20,000 people.The TMC is serviced by the METRORail Red Line, a north-south light rail route which connects the district to Downtown Houston and NRG Park.Westchase, Houston
For the community near Tampa, see Westchase, Florida.
Westchase is a business district and neighborhood in western Houston, Texas, bounded by Westheimer Road on the north, Gessner Road on the east, Houston Center Boulevard on the west, and Westpark Tollway on the south. The area is bisected by Beltway 8. Westchase is adjacent to Greater Sharpstown, the International District (which includes part of Chinatown), and the Royal Oaks Country Club subdivision. The area is immediately northeast of Alief.
A large portion of Westchase is covered by a special district, the Westchase Management District, which was created by the Texas Legislature in 1995. This entity, funded by a tax increment on businesses within its boundaries, provides branding, urban planning, and public safety functions for its constituents.More than 1,500 businesses reside in Westchase; several are associated with the petroleum industry, for which Houston is considered a major capital. Major employers that have offices in Westchase include ABB Group, BMC Software, Chevron, Phillips 66, Dow Chemical, Petrochina, and Jacobs Engineering. The Westchase district is approximately 4.32 square miles (11.2 km2) in size, with 16.3 million square feet (1,510,000 m2) of office space contained in 118 buildings.In 2006 Westchase was described by John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press as suburban in nature, with a high concentration of chain stores along its major arterial roads.Willow Meadows, Houston
Willow Meadows is a subdivision in Houston, Texas, United States.
Willow Meadows straddles the southwest corner of 610 Loop, but lies fully inside Beltway 8. The subdivision is next to Meyer Park, a shopping center. Willow Meadows is east of Meyerland, north of Willowbend, west of Westwood, and south of the city of Bellaire.
The neighborhood consists of a handful of tree-lined streets. The homes are generally 50- to 60-year-old ranch style houses. Because of its relatively short commute time to the Texas Medical Center, Downtown Houston, and Uptown Houston, the neighborhood is home to mostly upper-middle class professionals and educators. The neighborhood does border Brays Bayou which occasionally floods the northern reaches of the subdivision. However, flooding levels throughout the neighborhood tend to be lower than surrounding neighborhoods.
Willow Meadows is in Texas's 7th congressional district .
City of Houston
Nickname: Space City