Bellaire’s residential character, strict construction standards, parks aplenty and proximity to downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center and the Galleria area make the city a draw for families and those who want the benefits of small-town living while retaining access to Houston’s big city amenities Whether you’re considering a zip code change or you’re just searching for things to do in the area, here’s your guide to Bellaire.
William Wright Baldwin, president of the South End Land Company and a native Iowan, founded Bellaire in 1908. Baldwin established Bellaire on the eastern edge of Rice Ranch, William Marsh Rice’s 9,449-acre estate, which Baldwin acquired after the famed businessman’s death, according to the Texas State Historical association.
Promotional advertising in 1909 stated the area was dubbed Bellaire for its Gulf breezes. Others speculate Baldwin, who also served as vice president of the Burlington Railroad, named the land for Bellaire, Ohio, a town his railway served.
Baldwin invested $150,000 in improvements and infrastructure to turn the prairieland into an attractive site for settlers. He constructed Bellaire Boulevard, which ran from the site to Main Street in Houston, then about six miles from Bellaire, and built an electric streetcar line.
A post office opened in the residential neighborhood in 1911.
On June, 24, 1918, with a population of some 200 settlers, Bellaire obtained a general-law city charter and incorporated as a city.
Bellaire’s population grew to 1,124 by 1940 but Houston’s rapid expansion soon stifled the small city’s growth. By December 1948, Houston had annexed the land around Bellaire.