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About Us

River Oaks Foundation was formed in 1999 as a non-profit corporation for the purpose of raising funds for the beautification and preservation of the hallmark green spaces and common areas of River Oaks.

Foundation History

River Oaks was founded in 1924, and over 1600 families reside there today. In 1998, the River Oaks Property Owners adopted from the City of Houston all of the esplanades, islands, and parks in the neighborhood. These integral green spaces are daily reminders of the original vision of the founders.

 

Building upon this new stewardship role, the River Oaks Foundation was formed in 1999 by Bolivar Andrews, Gwyn Smith, Caroline Gregory and Paul Hobby. The board is now comprised of seven members of the River Oaks community, two of whom also serve on the ROPO board. River Oaks Foundation is a non-profit corporation for the purpose of raising funds for the beautification and preservation of the hallmark green spaces and common areas of River Oaks.

Objective

The goal of the Foundation is to assure that River Oaks continues to be a beauty spot within Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation. We take pride in the neighborhood’s history, prominence and distinctive landscape. Hugh Potter was a visionary found-ing father of River Oaks. This letter, from 1920’s, outlines his thoughts about the new subdivision he was planning. His ‘modern ideas have served the River Oaks Community well for nearly one hundred years.

Historic Landscape Design

In the early twentieth century, developers from the east coast to the west built garden suburbs, a new kind of residential community that united curvilinear roads and landscape designs as striking elements in a neighborhood. River Oaks developers Will and Mike Hogg along with their business partner Hugh Potter set out in 1924 to create one of the finest examples of garden suburban communities. Beverly Hills, Highland Park, the Country Club District in Kansas City and Roland Park (just outside of Baltimore) are other exemplary communities that were built at this time.

Potter and the Hogg Brothers hired nationally recognized landscape designers and engineers to create a comprehensive development plan for the new subdivision.

Landscape design was of utmost importance as a top marketing priority for the River Oaks Estates as it would become the perfect compliment to the already established River Oaks Country Club.

Beautiful wide esplanades were planned as signature design elements for the center of River Oaks Boulevard and Kirby Drive. As the main thoroughfares, the historic landscape composition called for boxwood hedges and roses on a carpet of green.

Prominent oval-shaped parks were installed on Chevy Chase, Del Monte, Stanmore and Pine Valley Drives. Oak trees and crepe mrytles lined residential streets as well.

Today, we strive to have our historic landscape restored.

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Improving our Parks and Green Spaces

See Parks, Esplanades and Green Spaces belonging to the River Oaks Property Owners. 

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Past Projects

River Oaks Foundation held a campaign in the early 2000s and those proceeds have been used on a variety of projects around River Oaks ever since. The original Staub gates to the neighborhood were cracked and crumbling until the foundation repaired, replastered and repainted the iconic markers in their original pale pink. The foundation funded projects including planting trees and refreshing the landscapes of Homewood Park on Lazy Lane, Rebecca Myer Park on Reba Drive, Mary Elliott Park on Chevy Chase Drive, Sleepy Hollow Park on Sleepy Hollow Court, and the park at Kirby Drive and Shepherd. Troon Road, Olympia Drive, Briarwood Court, Ella Lee at Larchmont, and Pine Valley Island all have green spaces that were enhanced by foundation dollars. When River Oaks Boulevard was reinstalled after being demolished for storm sewer work, the foundation participated in landscaping the first esplanade and installed sprinkler systems and grass in the remaining esplanades.

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Current Projects

Our current project is to raise funds to complete construction of the rose gardens on River Oaks Boulevard. The design was based on old photographs from the 1930s and 40s. So much thought and planning went into the original design concept by the founders Hugh Potter, the Hogg brothers and the landscape architects Hareand Hare, that there was no reason to change anything. Construction began in the spring of 2020 and as of now, seven of the nine esplanades have been land- scaped with brightly colored rose gardens. The gardens survived the big freeze and burst into bloom after those dreadful days in mid-February. We are hoping to celebrate completion of all of the esplanades this fall.

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