Montrose is a residential town situated in Neartown around Houston in Texas, USA. The town was established in 1910 by a land developer, J.W. Link who with his company, Houston Land Corporation identified the place as an ideal site for residential development. Initially, farmers who reared dairy cattle occupied the land.
Link ensured that there were four wide boulevards, which had a good quality of landscaping and scenery. He planted thousand of palms and shade trees to enhance the beauty of the place. Links also build his home there, a unique mansion that did not resemble any popular building style that existed those days. It was commonly known as the Link-Lee Mansion. Later it became part of the St. Thomas University. People who came inside the building admired its stairway and its original stained glass.
Link built a streetcar- the Montrose Line, which passed through Montrose. Link had the aim of making Houston prosperous and developed and he believed Montrose would lead in achieving this goal. This happened and even extended outside Montrose. The first apartment in Houston- the Plaza Apartment Hotel was opened in 1926 on the Boulevard at Montrose. The cost of construction of the hotel was about one million dollars. It was an attractive place that housed many leaders in Houston, among them the first president of Rice University, Dr. Edgar Lovett.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Montrose was famous for its Bohemian flavor. This initiated the Weistheimer Colony Art Festival in 1971 and the subsequent street fair in 1973. This street fair was known as the Weistheimer Street Festival. On March 1, 1970, KPFT Pacifica opened a listener-sponsored community radio station in Houston. This was Larry Lee's idea to Pacifica to establish a radio station in Houston as an alternative to the mainstream broadcasting. The station promoted the political and cultural counterculture in both Montrose and Houston. Still, in the 1970s, Montrose became known as the center for the lesbian and gay community of Houston. Numerous folk music clubs such as Anderson Fair and Sand Mountain took care of the folk scene in Montrose.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, punk and new clubs like the Omni, Numbers, and The Paradise Rock Island opened up. In the 1990s, Montrose was drastically developing with new and refurbished homes, up market restaurants and boutiques. The rents were also going up fast. In a study done in 2009 by the American Planning Association, Montrose was named as one of the ten fastest neighborhoods in the US. Since then Montrose has become a haven for motorcycle gangs, gays, affluent socialites, traditional stores and the safe eccentrics. It also acted as a destination to large numbers of writers, exiles, musicians and artists.
Montrose is widely known as a host to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. Other communities in Montrose include musicians and artists. There are also numerous gay bars, restaurants and second-hand shopping stores in Montrose. There are some original homes along the Westheimer Road and on the Montrose Boulevard, most of which have been turned into restaurants and businesses. The many century-old mansions and bungalows in Westheimer and the tree-lined streets off Montrose constitute the most of the historic residential architecture in Houston.
Montrose was among the first neighborhoods in Houston to develop. A mix of old dignified, town homes high-rises homes and brick bungalows characterize the neighborhood. Many people have flocked into Montrose especially in Downtown and the Medical Center, to buy homes there due to their diversity and close-in location.
The Buffalo Bayou is Montrose's northern boundary, Highway 59 and the Museum District from the Southern boundary, Upper Kirby District and Shepherd the west boundary, and Midtown and Downtown the east boundary.
Some of the earliest buildings in Montrose such as Howard Hughes home on the street of Yoakum and the Link-Lee House became part of Saint Thomas University. The Link-Lee House, one of the largest houses in Houston acts as the University's administration office and the Hughes House houses the department of Theology.
Montrose is a rebelliously diverse, historical and intimate neighborhood. It has made immense contributions to the cultural growth of Houston. Though it can be in a way dilapidated, it is an attractive neighborhood especially for the Bohemians because it has one of the world's largest museums called the Menil Collection, a spirituality and art center known as the Rothko Chapel and the Da Marco, which is one of Houston's best hotels in Houston.
Montrose is very meaningful to the city of Houston. As Link was developing and making Houston prosperous, he started by developing Montrose with the believe that one day it would lead in achieving this goal. This actually happens as Montrose embarks on major development projects such as infrastructure, which adds to the general prosperity of Montrose.
Montrose has the University of Saint Thomas within it. The University is the only source of higher education for the community around. It is also of importance to residents of Houston and the rest of the world at large. The level of education of a place is used as an indicator of development. Therefore, with the presence of a university in the area and other several high schools and primary schools, Montrose neighborhood has balanced development.
The university not only engages in improving the quality of education of the students but also improves the living standards of the community around it. This is through several ways. First, the university creates employment for people living around. The University adamantly needs the services of the local people especially the low skilled and unskilled labors to enable it to perform some clerical and simple tasks within the university. This creates employment that contributes to the income of this people.
The University admits students from all over the world. Most of the students will live around the university, and this will contribute much to the housing sector of the area. The students also increase the general population of the area, which infers that the demand and supply of goods will be high. This will result in booming businesses in the surrounding areas, which will be of benefit to the community due to improvement in the provision of goods and services in the region. This ultimately leads to economic growth that improves the lives of the people.
Through St. Thomas University, Montrose gets a definition of its distinctive diversity of opinions in cultural beliefs. Montrose is a neighborhood rich in its culture as defined in activities that take place within it. Through enrollment of students from all spheres of the world, the university encourages interactions of people from different cultures. This has contributed immensely to the cultural diversity of the city of Montrose. The neighborhood has also one of the best museums in the world. This encourages people from all over the world to come and visit the place. Such visits contribute greatly to the cultural diversity of the area.
Montrose is also a host for the L.G.B.T community. This makes it possible for people such as lesbians, gays and bisexuals to have a sense of freedom as they exercise their democratic rights.
The disappearance of Montrose from the community would be a loss to the community around and Houston due to loss of a higher center of education (St. Thomas University) which offers scholarships to students of the area and job opportunities for those working in the institution.
There would also be the loss of revenue and income the people and to the local authority since they will have lost revenue collection areas such as the museum.
Montrose neighborhood is thus an important and meaningful place to its residents and Houston. Its disappearance would be a setback to the community.