Hidden Houston

These Riverside Terrace Mansions Have Never Been Open to the Public—Until Now

A historic home tour will take place on December 3.

By Katharine Shilcutt November 14, 2017

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The 1928-era home at 2622 Riverside Drive was built for former Houston mayor Otis Massey.

Image: HAR.com

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Wichita Street Mystery home would be on the tour. We regret the error.

The red brick home at 2622 Riverside Drive was built in 1928 for Otis Massey, the mayor of Houston between 1943 and 1946 and the man responsible for selling 133  acres of land to the M.D. Anderson Foundation—a parcel which would eventually become the Texas Medical Center, just across Highway 288.

The French-style mansion at 2602 Riverside Drive still retains original features from its construction in 1930, including a charming vanity and a dazzling pink-and-green bathroom that competes with a goldenrod-and-brick Deco-style bathroom down the hall.

The crumbling four-bedroom structure at 2311 Rosedale St. sits on an expansive, 16,000-square-foot corner lot, built in 1930 and with the potential to be saved by the right buyer. And at only $385,000, there's a possibility that could happen.

The Historic Riverside Terrace Civic Association hopes that preservation-minded buyer could be on board the home tours it's offering on December 3, with the aim of promoting the area's rich history. The five-home tour is the first of its kind for the Civic Association, which will invite tourists inside the fabulous, Deco-era mansions of Riverside Terrace—the historic Third Ward neighborhood that was once adjacent to the Medical Center and Museum District before Highway 288 tore through it in 1959.

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The French-style estate at 2602 Riverside Dr. will open its vintage doors to the public on December 3.

Image: HAR.com

"Many know it as the Jewish River Oaks, and the homes are shockingly beautiful here," says Rachel Paxton, communications director for the Historic Riverside Terrace Civic Association. Even more compellingly, she says, "never before have [these] homes been open to the public."

Four of the five homes on the tour are currently private residences, but it's the final home on Rosedale Street that Paxton most hopes will find an appreciative audience. "The fifth home is actually a endangered historic home which is for sale and in danger of being torn down," she says. "Tour guests can tour it, buy it, and save it!"

General admission tickets are on sale for $15, and include entrance to all five homes. But if you'd like to learn even more about Riverside Terrace itself—or if you simply want someone else to do the driving—there are two bus tours taking place that Sunday, December 3: one at 11 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. A converted school bus will stop at all five homes, and includes drinks and snacks on board. Tickets for the guided bus tour are $45 and must be booked in advance, though you can purchase general admission tickets the day of for $20 at any of the five homes.

2017 Historic Riverside Terrace Home Tour. Sunday, December 3, noon to 5 p.m. $15–$45

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