Westheimer Road is an arterial east-west road in Houston, Texas, United States. It runs from Bagby Street in downtown Houston, and terminates at the Westpark Tollway on the southern edge of George Bush Park, stretching about 19 miles (30.5 km) long. The street was named after Michael Louis Westheimer, a German immigrant and flour salesman.
Westheimer Road’s eastern terminus is at Bagby Street. At this point, traffic heading east on Westheimer either turns southwest on Bagby Street or jogs right and southeasterly, continuing on Elgin Street into Midtown, and into Third Ward near the University of Houston. From Bagby west, Westheimer jogs mostly westerly, through Neartown, forms the south boundary of the River Oaks community, and then passes under the west 610 Loop.
The portion spanning from Interstate 610 west to the Westpark Tollway is designated as a part of Urban Road 1093. Urban Road 1093 was formally extracted from Farm to Market Road 1093 on June 27, 1995; however, as is the case with all designated Urban Roads in Texas, Urban Road 1093 is signed publicly as Farm to Market Road 1093. From the 610 Loop west, Westheimer Road traverses through Uptown and then west-southwest to Chimney Rock. From Chimney Rock west, Westheimer is straight along a cardinal east–west line. Westheimer passes north of Alief and Westchase when passing under Beltway 8. After intersecting Highway 6 and passing west of West Oaks Mall, Westheimer Road and Westheimer Parkway split, with Westheimer Parkway continuing west through George Bush Park and Westheimer Road (a.k.a., “Old Westheimer Road”) turning southwest. Westheimer Road terminates when FM 1093 becomes the feeder road of the Westpark Tollway just west of FM 1464 and just inside Fort Bend County.
Character of Various Segments
John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press said in a 2006 article that Westheimer Road, “more than any other thoroughfare, embodies Houston’s car-enamored, zoning-free ethos, a damn-near 20-mile phantasmagoria of strip malls, storage facilities, restaurants, big-box retail, office parks, apartment complexes, strip clubs, malls, supermarkets and the occasional church.”
In a post on the Houston Press website during the same year, he called the stretch of Westheimer west of Chimney Rock Road and east of Fondren Road, which he refers to as “Mid-Westheimer,” “The Testosterone Zone.” Referring to a photograph of a shopping center on that segment, Lomax added that “This strip center is the essence of that — Evans Music City, an army surplus store, a titty bar and a liquor store within 100 yards of each other. Now that’s one-stop shopping.” In Houston Architectural Guide, Stephen Fox said the following about the stretch of Westheimer between Chimney Rock Road and South Gessner Road:
In 2007 Colliers International ranked Westheimer Road as the seventh most expensive retail streets in the United States by rent per square foot; the group calculated the rent per square foot as $120 United States dollars.Lomax said that the segment of Westheimer in Westchase is “virtually all chains — a Geography of Nowhere wasteland of Boston Market, Borders, Kroger, Randalls, Taco Bell, Citgoand Sonic. Several of the six CVS outlets we passed are there, as are a few of the uncountable Starbucks.” He added that the segment of Westheimer Road in Westchase does not have “the sleaze of the Highway 6 area and the tacky exuberance of mid-Westheimer, the area between Chimney Rock and Fondren.”
In 2007 Mimi Swartz of Texas Monthly referred to a stretch of Westheimer between Claremont Lane and Kirby Drive as “the socialite’s sector” due to the stores catering to residents of River Oaks and other nearby wealthy communities; in the article she describes several places along the stretch of Westheimer.
Between Willowick Road and Sage Rd, Westheimer is lined with prestigious boutiques and high-end stores that feature luxury goods. Among shopping centers in this section include The Galleria and River Oaks District and many others. Brands that feature boutiques include Apple, Tom Ford, Gucci, Fendi, Christian Dior SE, Dolce & Gabbana, John Hardy, Cartier, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Rolex, Versace, etc.
From its eastern terminus at Westheimer Road / FM 1093, Westheimer Parkway winds through George Bush Park and the Cinco Ranch neighborhood in Harris County and Fort Bend County. The Parkway then runs under Grand Parkway near Cinco Ranch High School. Westheimer Parkway’s western terminus is in Fort Bend County, Texas approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northwest of Grand Parkway. At this point, traffic heading northwest on Westheimer Parkway continues on Pin Oak Road near Katy Mills Mall, located in Katy.
Westheimer Road and Westheimer Parkway are named after Mitchell (Michael) Louis Westheimer, a prosperous German Jewish immigrant and flour salesman who had settled in Houston in 1859. He purchased a 640-acre (2.6 km2) farm west of Houston’s city limits at the time, where Lamar High School and St. John’s School are currently located. Having built a school on his land for his 16 children, other local children were invited to join the school, as a public school system was not established in the area. The road that led to his property was known as “the road to Westheimer’s place” and wound through what would later be Neartown and River Oaks.
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