When the roadway now known as Allen Parkway was new, it was the primary route between downtown Houston and a new residential community, River Oaks.
“It was in 1923 when the Hogg brothers and Hugh Potter decided to build River Oaks as a country-home community,” said Marks Hinton, author of “Historic Houston Streets: The Stories Behind Names”(Bright Sky Press, $19.95).
The neighborhood development inspired the creation of Houston’s first parkway.
The two-lane road, named Buffalo Drive, was built between 1925 and 1926.
Buffalo Drive’s route begins downtown and spans westward 2.3 miles to Shepherd Drive at the eastern boundary of River Oaks. It also serves as the southern border of what later became Buffalo Bayou Park.
Even before the development of River Oaks, interest existed in creating an east-west thoroughfare in the area, historian Betty Chapman said.
“In 1910, the city was deciding how to develop more parkland,” she said. “A landscape architect told the city the natural setting along the bayou would be ideal for parks.”
That was when city leaders started planning parkways to access park developments, Chapman said.
It’s an interesting history of one of Houston’s best roads, so check it out. I will say, though, that the best thing ever written about Allen Parkway was this 23rd Psalm-inspired ode on Houstonist that is thankfully still findable despite the site going defunct. Enjoy!