header for the museums section - comparison


Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens


Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens
photography by Rick Gardner, Spring 2000


In 1836 Augustus and John Allen established a small settlement along a muddy and mosquito-infested area of the Buffalo Bayou. They named the town after Sam Houston, who had won independence for Texas at the Battle of San Jacinto earlier that year. Houston prospered, and in 1914 the winding bayou was converted into a shipping channel, fueling the city's growth as a center for timber, cotton, and cattle shipping. In the early twentieth century, an oil boom assured Houston's future as a world energy center.

By the 1920s Houston, many of Houston's leading citizens joined forces to control growth and to formulate ideas for planning and beautification. Although many of their proposals were never realized, the city benefited immeasurably from these efforts. Will Hogg gave his own land to the city to create Memorial Park and other public green spaces.

Will Hogg's commitment to urban planning was matched by his entrepreneurial spirit. In 1924, Will and Mike Hogg and their associate Hugh Potter began planning a lush subdivision, away from the noise, dirt, and congestion of the city. They built River Oaks, the new suburb, on 1100 acres of open farmland and rustic woodlands three miles west of downtown Houston. Advertised as a "distinguished experiment in fine living," it became a national model for community planning.

In the heart of River Oaks, Houston's most elegant residential area, an eighty-acre lot was a separate subdivision called Homewoods. This enclave contained just fourteen lots, the largest of which was reserved by the Hoggs and would become Bayou Bend.


The house, designed by prominent architect John F. Staub, was built between 1927 and 1928. Miss Hogg and her brothers wanted the design of their new home to reflect the history, culture, and climate of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Staub's plan for Bayou Bend combined the refined symmetry of eighteenth-century English Georgian architecture with the romantic influence of Spanish Creole architecture from New Orleans. In fact, the antique wrought iron balcony on the southern facade of the house was salvaged from a demolished New Orleans building. Bayou Bend's central hallway, curving stairway, columned northern portico, and double frontage--are borrowed from Southern plantation houses. Miss Hogg coined the term "Latin Colonial" to describe the eclectic new style.

The interiors borrow more heavily from the architectural traditions of the North. In 1920 Miss Hogg had begun assembling an important collection of American decorative arts. To provide suitable settings for these extraordinary antiques, Staub designed simple but stately interiors in the style of colonial American rooms. In Miss Hogg's bedroom and sitting room, he incorporated floorboards and paneling rescued from two eighteenth-century Massachusetts houses.

The gardens presented a special challenge. Covered in towering trees and thick undergrowth, the site was, in Miss Hogg's words, "nothing but a dense thicket." Undaunted, she created a series of gracious and beautiful gardens that were intended as outdoor rooms for living and entertaining, not just views to be admired from within the house. But Miss Hogg was also appreciative of the wilder side of nature, and she always intended that the surrounding woodlands, remain more or less natural, as they are today.



image of a line divider
Home | The Collectors | Franz Mayer | Ima Hogg | The Collections | The Museums | Bayou Bend | Franz Mayer Museum
Exhibition | Collectors and their Collections | For Teachers | Cultural Exchange | For Families | Timeline | About this Website | Site Map
Museum of Fine Arts Houston | College of Education, UH

Graphic links to MFAH, College of Education and University of Houston

link to museum of fine arts houston link to college of education at the university of houston link to the university of Houston website
Link to the comparison page for the collectors Link to comparison page for the museums Link to the comparison page for the collections Link to home page of The Granduer of Vice Regal Mexico