The Woodlands, Texas

The Woodlands, Texas
Census-designated place and Special-purpose district

Location in the state of Texas
Coordinates: 30°10′39″N 95°30′14″W / 30.17750°N 95.50389°W / 30.17750; -95.50389Coordinates: 30°10′39″N 95°30′14″W / 30.17750°N 95.50389°W / 30.17750; -95.50389
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Montgomery & Harris
Established 1974
  Board of Directors[1] Gordy Bunch (Secretary)
Mike Bass (Vice Chairman)
Jeff Long
Ed Robb (Chairman)
John McMullan
Ann Snyder
Laura Fillault (Treasurer)
  President Don Norrell
  Total 43.9 sq mi (113.6 km2)
  Land 43.3 sq mi (112.1 km2)
  Water 0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2)
Elevation 160 ft (50 m)
Population (2015)[2]
  Total 109,679
  Density 2,500/sq mi (970/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 281/346/713/832/936
FIPS code 48-72656[3]
GNIS feature ID 1867568[4]
Town Center
House in The Woodlands
Golf course

The Woodlands is a master-planned community and census-designated place (CDP) in the U.S. state of Texas in the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. According to The Woodlands Development Company, the population was 107,769 as of a January 2014 estimate,[5] an increase of 93.7% over its population of 55,649 at the 2000 census.[6]

It is 28 miles (45 km) north of Houston along Interstate 45. Though it began as a suburban development and a bedroom community, it has also attracted corporations and has several corporate campuses, most notably Chevron Phillips, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Huntsman Corporation, Woodforest National Bank, Baker Hughes, CB&I, McKesson Corporation, Aon plc, Maersk Line, Safmarine, GeoSouthern Energy, ExxonMobil, and SWN or Southwestern Energy Company. It won a Special Award for Excellence in 1994 from the Urban Land Institute.[7]


The Woodlands was conceived after the oil industry investor George P. Mitchell attended a symposium by the Rouse Company subsidiary American City Corporation on how to develop HUD financed Title VII towns like Columbia, Maryland.[8] It was dedicated by George P. Mitchell in 1974 and managed by The Woodlands Corporation as an extension of Mitchell Energy & Development. Mitchell, an oil businessman, planned to establish a conference center, hotels, office parks, retail malls, schools, large distribution centers, and golf courses. Houses would range from affordable to expensive and large. Bill Schadewald of the Houston Business Journal said that Mitchell wanted the development to "entice city slickers looking for far-flung suburban quality of life."[9] Schadewald said that local sources stated that the HUD New Town program, a federally funded program, had a "low survival rate" and questioned whether The Woodlands would succeed.[9]

The Woodlands Corporation was acquired on July 31, 1997, by a partnership between Morgan Stanley and Crescent Real Estate Equities.[10] In December 2003, The Rouse Company acquired Crescent's interest,[11] and Rouse was bought by General Growth Properties on November 12, 2004. In 2011 The Woodlands was sold to the Howard Hughes Development Corporation.[12]

The land was previously occupied by the Grogan-Cochran Lumber Mill,[13] hence Grogan's Mill and Cochran's Crossing neighborhoods, called "villages". The original planning utilized many of the planning concepts and design consultants employed in other well-regarded new communities of that era such as Columbia, Maryland, Irvine Ranch, California and Reston, Virginia. The original development plan included environmental design principles espoused by Ian McHarg, a distinguished landscape architect, teacher and author of the seminal work Design With Nature.

It continues to grow residentially and commercially as many companies are moving there. In addition to Chevron Phillips, Huntsman, Anadarko, Hewitt Associates, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Mærsk Sealand, Chicago Bridge & Iron, M&S Engineering and Woodforest National Bank have set up operations. The Town Center includes shopping and eating facilities, a waterway resembling the San Antonio River Walk, and water taxis known as "Waterway Cruisers" that are enclosed and cooled for added comfort.

On September 13, 2008, it sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Ike. Sustained winds of 85 mph (137 km/h) brought down thousands of trees, powerlines, and billboards in the area and severely damaged the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Ike was the first hurricane to directly affect the area since Hurricane Alicia in 1983.

The summer of 2011 brought an unprecedented drought throughout Texas, which caused thousands of trees to die and requiring they be taken down, a process that continued into 2012.

In 2011, Schadewald said "Now: Obviously, The Woodlands had quite a future. Somewhere between First Colony and The Woodlands, I realized why visionary real estate developers strike it rich more often than skeptical real estate reporters."[9]

In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau designated the area around The Woodlands and Conroe as a "large urbanized transit area," defined as having over 200,000 residents, making it eligible to receive federal transportation funds.[14]


Mitchell's original plan was for The Woodlands to be annexed by the city of Houston. In the middle part of the 2000s (decade), some residents feared such an annexation, as had happened to the Kingwood development almost a decade before. To counteract any possible move by the city, a movement began to create an independent city government. However, the formation of an independent government would require authorization by the State of Texas and the City of Houston, as Houston held extraterritorial jurisdiction over the area.

In 2007, two state legislators representing Woodlands, Sen. Tommy Williams and Rep. Robert Eissler, created and passed two bills in the 2007 Legislature – House Bill 4109[15] and Senate Bill 1012.[16] HB 4109 called for a vote to allow expansion of an existing improvement district (now The Woodlands Township) and to allow The Woodlands to collect sales tax,[17] while SB 1012 allowed for the creation of regional agreements between governments. The passage of these bills allowed an opportunity for The Woodlands to incorporate itself.


Map of the Woodlands CDP as of the 2000 census

The Woodlands is primarily in Montgomery County, Texas, with a small portion of the CDP in Harris County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has an area of 43.9 square miles (113.6 km2), of which 43.3 square miles (112.1 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 1.32%, is water.[18]

It is in a heavily forested area, and much of the community has retained trees for shade and decoration. The terrain is essentially flat, with the exception of topographic variations ranging from 125 to 175 feet between Spring Creek and Flintridge Drive.[19]


It has a humid subtropical climate. Temperature ranges are within the top decile for census-designated places in the United States. Winter daily highs average approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15C), daily lows 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4C); summer daily highs average 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34C), daily lows 72 (22C) degrees Fahrenheit.[20]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015109,67916.9%

As of 2010, there were 93,847 people. The racial makeup was 88.4% White, 2.4% Black , 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.9% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.1% Two or More Races, 12.3% Hispanic or Latino, and 78.5% White alone, not Hispanic or Latino.[22]

A bridge leading through the forest in The Woodlands, Texas.

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 55,649 people, 19,881 households, and 15,546 families.[23] The population density was 2,328.4 people per square mile (900.5/km2).There were 21,014 housing units at an average density of 897.7 per square mile (346.6/km2). The racial makeup was 92.36% White, 1.75% Black, 0.29% Native American, 2.80% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28% of the population.

There were 19,881 households out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.2% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.21.

31.8% were under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males; for every 100 females age 18 and over there were 88.5 males.

The median income for a household was $85,253, for a family $98,675. Males have a median income of $78,642 versus $38,505 for females. The Per capita income was $37,724. About 3.0% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household had risen to $94,626, for a family to $113,243.[24]


By 2006 the numbers of middle and upper class Hispanics, including Mexican nationals, increased. Some of the residents were assigned to Houston by their companies. Some of them moved to The Woodlands to escape increased crime and political tensions from the Mexican presidential election.[25] According to the 2010 U.S. Census 6.6% of the residents of The Woodlands were Hispanic. The 2013 Census estimates say the percentage is now 12.3%.

As of the 2013-2014 school year 22% of the students at Conroe Independent School District elementary and junior high schools in The Woodlands were Hispanic. This was an increase from 10.5% in the 2005-2006 school year, and the percentages grew particularly in Glen Loch, Lamar, and Tough elementary schools. The 2013-2014 percentage in Conroe ISD schools in The Woodlands is below the overall Conroe ISD Hispanic average of 34.2%.[26]

The community has Viva! The Woodlands Magazine, a Spanish language magazine that covers The Woodlands, as well as the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Many churches in The Woodlands area have some services in Spanish.[26]


CB&I administrative headquarters

By 2000 a significant amount of corporate office space was under construction. Of the 4,800,000 square feet (450,000 m2) of office space under construction in Greater Houston, over one third was in The Woodlands.[27]

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has its headquarters in The Woodlands.[28] On February 11, 1999 Anadarko announced that it would purchase a 7.5-acre (30,000 m2) tract from The Woodlands Land Company, to build a 800,000-square-foot (74,000 m2), 32-story headquarters building, to open in mid-2002.[29] As of 2000 the Anadarko building was the largest office project in The Woodlands.[27]

In January 2012, Anadarko announced the imminent construction of a sister tower on site, 31 stories high, of which ten will be for parking. According to a press release from the company, site work had already begun and construction of the tower would be complete by 2014. The building will be at the corner of Woodloch Forest and Lake Robbins Dr, and, with its completed sister tower, it will be the tallest building in Montgomery County and between Houston and Dallas.

Chicago Bridge & Iron's worldwide administrative office is in The Woodlands.[30]

In 2000, work began on a 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) building for Maersk Sealand.[27]

In 2011, ExxonMobil announced plans to construct a new complex on a 385-acre plot of land near the intersection of the Hardy Toll Road and Interstate 45, which is in the Houston ETJ and might be annexed by Houston. About 10,000 employees in the Houston area will relocate to the campus starting in 2014, with full occupancy by 2015.[31]

Other companies based in The Woodlands include Woodforest National Bank, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, McKesson Corporation, Tetra Technologies, Rigaku, and Kroger Texas.

Many wealthy Mexicans who settled in The Woodlands due to rising crime in Mexico had also established businesses in The Woodlands.[32]

Government and infrastructure

Bridge in The Woodlands

United States Postal Service post offices include The Woodlands Post Office at 9450 Pinecroft Drive and the Panther Creek Post Office at 10800 Gosling Road.[33][34]

Law enforcement in Montgomery County is provided by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Highway Patrol. The Harris County portion is covered by Harris County Constable Precinct #4.

The Woodlands Township is a Special-purpose district created by the 73rd Texas Legislature in 1993,[35] and is run by a seven-member board of directors who are elected directly by the residents of the township in an at large election, for two year staggered terms.[36] Even though The Woodlands is not a city nor a traditional township government, it still provides limited municipal government services such as trash pickup, parks and recreation, covenant enforcement, fire and rescue services, streetscaping, economic development, and enhanced law enforcement and security patrols.[37] The township's offices are located at 2801 Technology Forest Boulevard, The Woodlands, TX 77381.[37]

The Woodlands Township runs three transit services: The Woodlands Express, which provides commuter service to Houston from park and ride lots in The Woodlands,[38] Waterway Cruisers, which run on weekends, and the free daily Waterway Trolley.

Culture and entertainment

The Woodlands offers many entertainment venues including two movie theaters, over 150 restaurants, a publicly accessible waterway, dancing waterfalls with music, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, summer home of the Houston Symphony and catering for many large acts (rock bands to classical). The Woodlands Waterway will eventually be more than 1/2 mile long, reaching from The Woodlands Mall around to Lake Woodlands and with wide, lighted sidewalks along both sides and Waterway Taxis. Other attractions include Market Street, an old style "Main Street" pedestrian shopping district, home to a movie theater and a variety of shops and restaurants. The Woodlands Mall borders the waterway and is adjacent to Market Street, forming a large pedestrian-friendly shopping district. Each of the "villages" in The Woodlands has its own shopping center with a core grocery store and shops, banks, gas, restaurants, etc.

Market Street, a shopping center in The Woodlands.


The city is also home to a renowned community concert band officially known as "The Woodlands Concert Band". The band was established in 2001 and is currently the host of the Bayou City Community Band Festival. They perform annually at the Independence Day celebration at Market Street. Current membership of the band range from 75-85, made up of both amateur and professional musicians. Repertoire for the ensemble includes Classical, Patriotic, and Contemporary. On July 25, 2015, the Band gained acclaim by performing under the direction of world-renowned composer Frank Ticheli, at the 2015 Texas Band Masters Association Convention in San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The group is currently under the direction of Paul Worosello, as of 2009.


As of 2011, the community is majority Christian.[39]

Amateur radio

The Woodlands has an amateur radio club and repeater. There are 199 licensed amateur radio operators in the town.


Over the course of 2007, producer Frank Eakin wrote and produced a film entitled The Bracelet of Bordeaux, which became the first film to be shot completely in The Woodlands. The cast and crew were largely composed of local residents, and the film itself was part of a larger effort on Eakin's part to generate interest in using The Woodlands and Houston as shooting locations for major motion pictures. Following its' completion, the film was heavily promoted in the local press and at area businesses, leading to its' world premier at The Woodlands High School. The film was generally not well received,[40] and no further attempts have been made to bring the film industry to The Woodlands.


Lone Star College headquarters

Most students in the Montgomery County portion attend schools in the Conroe Independent School District. Children residing in the May Valley neighborhood in Sterling Ridge Village attend schools in the Magnolia Independent School District. Children from the Creekside Park Village in Harris County attend the Tomball Independent School District. Montgomery County Memorial Library System operates two libraries in The Woodlands, the South Branch and the George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library. Most schools have the honored rank of an exemplary school, the highest school ranking in Texas. Texas students are administered the STAAR test, a review of general knowledge, which can determine students' promotion to the next grade level.

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

The Woodlands High School (TWHS) serves the western portion of The Woodlands in Montgomery County. Refer to the Conroe School District for specific feeders. TWHS was ranked 626 on Newsweek's 2012 list of America's Best High Schools.[41]

The Woodlands College Park High School, which opened in 2005, serves the eastern portion of The Woodlands in Montgomery County. TWCP was ranked 382 on Newsweek's 2012 list of America's Best High Schools.[41] Refer to the Conroe School District for specific feeders. Magnolia High School serves pupils residing in May Valley, and Tomball High School serves pupils residing inside the Harris County portion.

Junior high schools

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Lone Star College (originally the North Harris Montgomery Community College District) and Sam Houston State University The Woodlands Center[42] serve the community. The territory in Conroe ISD joined the community college district in 1991, and the territory in Tomball ISD had joined the district in 1982.[43] The headquarters of the Lone Star College System are located in The Woodlands and in unincorporated Montgomery County, Texas.[44] The district moved to its current location on March 17, 2003.[45] Our Lady of the Lake University, a private non-profit university based in San Antonio, moved its Houston Campus to The Woodlands in 2011.


The Woodlands is organized into "villages", subdivided into "neighborhoods."

Notable people

Famous residents past and present include:


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  2. "The Woodlands, Texas Demographics: January 1, 2013". The Woodlands Development Company. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
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  7. ULI Awards for Excellence Winners, 1979–2006. Urban Land Institute. (Link from Google Cache)
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  16. 80th Texas Legislature, Senate Bill 1012.
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  21. "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790–2010)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  22. "The Woodlands CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  23. 2000 US Census, The Woodlands CDP, Texas
  24. 2007 American Community Survey Estimate via US Census Factfinder. 2007 American Community Survey Estimate via US Census Factfinder.
  25. Insensee, Laura. "The Woodlands lures more Hispanics to area" (Archived 2015-09-25 at WebCite). Houston Chronicle. Wednesday November 29, 2006. Retrieved on September 26, 2015.
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  36. "." The Woodlands election information packet. Retrieved on May 22, 2014.
  37. 1 2 "The Woodlands Township FAQ". Retrieved on May 22, 2014.
  38. The Woodlands Express Park and Ride
  39. Shellnutt, Kate. "New temple will serve north Houston Hindus". Houston Chronicle. June 26, 2011. Retrieved on May 3, 2014.
  40. Rotten Tomatoes: The Bracelet of Bordeaux
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  42. . Sam Houston State University. January 15, 2014. Retrieved on January 15, 2014.
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  49. Wall Street Journal

External links

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