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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Gulf Coast : Bellaire

BELLAIRE, TEXAS

Harris County, Texas Gulf Coast
6 Miles SW of Downtown Houston

On Loop 610
Bordered by Houston on three sides
and West University Place to the East
Population: 15,642 (2000)

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History in a Pecan Shell

The city of Bellaire was once a ranch belonging to William Marsh Rice, the founder of Rice University. The ranch was bought in 1908 and subdivided by the South End Land Company, whose president was William Wright Baldwin. Baldwin was also vice-president of the Burlington Railroad and is said to have named Bellaire after a town in Ohio.

The property was barely more than prairie, but Baldwin invested in infrastructure and improvements, hoping to lure northern residents down to live and farm on small plots. Part of Baldwin’s improvements included the construction of Bellaire Boulevard which remains a direct conduit to Houston
’s Main Street and the Texas Medical Center.
Bellaire Texas Trolley
Bellaire Texas electric streetcar
Electric streetcar
TE photo, December 2007
The Westmoreland Railroad Company operated an electric streetcar (shown above) down the center of Bellaire Boulevard from late 1910 until September,1927. The car on display is not an original, but a representative model – purchased in Portugal in the 1980s.

In 1910 Missouri horticulturist Edward Teas opened his nursery on Bellaire Boulevard – a business still there on the eastern edge of town. A post office was granted in 1911.

In June of 1918 Bellaire obtained a city charter. The population at that time was a mere 200, but by 1940 it had grown to 1,124.

Houston annexed the properties surrounding Bellaire on the last day of 1948. The following April Bellaire adopted a mayoral – city council type of government. The population had risen to over 10,000 by 1950 and the city remained primarily a residential community with the exception of light business and some expanded corporate building from the late 70s and early 80s.

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