In 1922, Houston developer E.H. Fleming planned the residential and business community of Southampton Place to be built on 160.75 acres he had purchased from Nellie B. League of Galveston. The title to this land originated with the Obedience Smith survey that Smith received from the Republic of Texas on July 23, 1845. (This original land grant of 3,370 acres is now the greater part of central and southwest Houston.)
When Southampton Place was approved as an addition to the City of Houston in June, 1923, Houston’s population was 226,000, Rice Institute was the largest privately-endowed school of higher learning in the United States, Houston had 58 public schools and 14 fire stations, and a Hudson sedan sold for $1,550!
Southampton Place has been an upscale, outstanding, single-family residential area for 65 years, primarily due to the stringent restrictions which continue to be enforced today. The original restrictions, set forth on April 15, 1923, stated that there were to be no apartment houses or duplexes in Southampton; minimum construction costs on Rice Boulevard were to be $12,000 to $15,000; on Sunset Boulevard $8,000 to $10,000; and all other lots $5,000 to $7,000. These restrictions were to remain in force for 150 years and could then be extended by action of a majority of the property owners.
A civic club was established in 1929 to enforce the restrictions and, through the years, Southampton residents have worked together to update and renew these restrictions to ensure the beauty and integrity of their neighborhood. For example, when Rice Stadium was completed in 1950, increased traffic patterns had to be considered. And in 1972, when new water lines were installed under city streets, the civic club launched a “save the trees” campaign and preserved Southampton’s beautiful oaks.