In the late 1980s, the growing area between Buffalo Speedway and Shepherd, Westheimer and Highway 59 was a neighborhood with no name, no sense of community and nothing to distinguish its unique character. So in January 1988, property and business owners in the area came together with a focus: to identify and unify themselves. The result: The Upper Kirby District.
Residents and local interests further came together in 1996, creating the Upper Kirby District Foundation focused on public programs, outreach and education to ensure the dynamic quality of life so specific to Upper Kirby. And in 2002, the Upper Kirby District Merchant’s Association strove to expand the innovative thinking that had created their thriving community and reorganized to form the Houston Intown Chamber of Commerce that now serves a number of the communities inside the city.
In addition to the foundation and Intown chamber, Upper Kirby continues to institute firsts for the community and the city. In 2003, the Levy Garden became the first in the city to offer rental plots available for growing produce and flowers. Located behind the Upper Kirby Center on Richmond Avenue, this urban nature center features a pond and wetlands, an orchard, and outdoor theatre.
The Upper Kirby Center is also the location of one of the largest solar electricity facilities in the city, a product of a partnership between the Upper Kirby District Foundation and Green Mountain Energy Company; another example of how Upper Kirby is changing the way communities influence their city and provide for their residents.
Between River Oaks and the Rice Village, Upper Kirby is rich with unique shops and showrooms, antiques and fine dining. The home of Gallery Row, Houstonians come to Upper Kirby to take in local and world-renowned artists. With Kirby Drive bisecting the neighborhood, residents have easy access to all of Houston from the Texas Medical Center and Reliant Park to Uptown and the Galleria, and throughout Midtown and Downtown.