The East End of Houston is a neighborhood that has the touch of immigration throughout its district. Originally home to Italian and German immigrants, over time it became the landing point for immigrants coming north out of South America and Mexico. Housed within this diverse district are two of the oldest Hispanic neighborhoods in Houston, Magnolia Park and Second Ward. It is this cultural heart that has brought the neighborhood back from declining to vibrant.
So how did all these immigrants come to settle in East End? As they started working for the Port of Houston, these families were looking for a more permanent place to settle. Thus, in 1913, East End became one of the first master-planned communities within the area to accommodate dock workers and their families. Overtime, the district began to reflect its immigrant roots in terms of cultural and local shopping options.
With a large number of vintage and affordable homes, the neighborhood was revitalized throughout the early 21st century. This has brought a wave of supportive business, including restaurants and entertainment to cater to these middle class residents. At the same time, the revitalization efforts have not priced the current residents completely out of the market, thus keeping it solidly affordable for the middle class.
The arts are a huge part of East End
The Talento Bilingue de Houston is one of the largest cultural centers in the area. The Carlos Garcia Theater, which is associated with the Houston Community College. One of the murals by artist Leo Tanguma, called Chicano, is located on Canal Street. For residents, this makes the arts close to home and therefore more accessible. As a result, visitors and residents have used these more frequently. There are also plenty of educational opportunities, including a local community college right in the district.
Overtime, the neighborhood became associated with some of the area’s best Mexican bakeries and restaurants. This district became the go to place for authentic Hispanic cuisine. With roughly 42 options for food in the East End, the area appeals to a variety of residents. Various community and neighborhood organizations have worked to promote the businesses and local shopping options, thus alerting residents to the hidden gems right in their backyard.
The Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA) has contributed to the educational opportunities within the district. They constructed a multi-purpose education center in 1999. The center included computer labs and science stations as part of its overall design. Geared toward local students, it encouraged them to continue to learn and explore after school is done for the day.
When it comes to encouraging the growth of an older neighborhood, it can be difficult to change how residents view the area. Yet with hard work and determination, it is possible for community to draw in fresh residents and bring a neighborhood back to its former glory. East End is clearly one such example of how determined community leaders can make such an effort worthwhile.