Nawf Side: The Story of Houston’s North Side

fifth ward houston ghetto acres homes houston ghetto

Nawf Side: Houston’s North Side

Houston, Texas is a city that is divided between the North Side and South Side and has for long been influential to ‘hoods, communities and societies across the nation, from the city’s lingo of “Sauce” to the laid-back culture within streets of Houston.

In one of the fast-growing cities in the country, the city of Houston was originally much smaller with a bulk of the population living in the city’s wards and neighboring communities.

As slavery came to an end, freed men and women of rural communities in East Texas began to relocate into the city of Houston as many occupied the 4th Ward, while a small percentage of others decided to reside in the city’s 3rd and 5th wards.

fifth ward houston ghetto

Today’s Fifth Ward

While historically the 5th Ward has been unofficially labeled as the heart of the North Side’s black community, the North Side has had other historic black neighborhoods like Acres Homes and Studewood as African-Americans have called these two areas home for generations.

4th Ward, originally known as Freedmen Town, would eventually be changed by urban renewal with the construction of the San Felipe Courts public housing complex and other construction projects like Interstate 45.

As urban renewal destroyed the majority of the 4th Ward many would relocate into the already existing black communities of either the North Side’s 5th Ward or the South Side’s 3rd Ward.

The Fifth Ward Houston ghetto was once one of the city’s most thriving areas until around the 1960s as Lyons Avenue was the heart of the community that was filled with a number of black owned businesses.

Kashmere Gardens

After the removal of segregation laws by the 1960s, former all-white communities were now having black families to move into the neighborhoods of Houston’s Northeast Side like Trinity Gardens and Kashmere Gardens as blacks were beginning to leave the Fifth Ward.

By the 1970s, Houston’s black population dominated the city’s Northeast Side as areas like Settagast, Lakewood, and Homestead from Rosewood to Riverwood were predominantly African-American.


While west of Interstate 45, the Northwest Side grew out of the historic black community of Acres Homes and expanded and grew into neighboring neighborhoods like the Greater Inwood section of Houston’s North Side.

The reputation of the North Side has lasted for generations as this side of town has produced some of the city’s most respected, talented, and resilient citizens coming from neighborhoods like Acres Homes and 5th Ward or along Lockwood Drive and Homestead Road.

acres homes houston ghetto

Lincoln City of Acres Homes

The largest community of the North Side is Acres Homes, aka the 4-4, a large area expanding from Gulf Bank to West Tidwell has been known for sections like Garden City (9601 Da Briccs), Tidwell (Die Hard), Gulf Bank (Hollywood), Copper Tree, Carver Road, Lincoln Park (790 Da Ghetto), Lincoln City and many others.

The Acres Homes Houston ghetto is a diverse community between its makeup of apartment complexes like Garden City, neighborhoods like Lincoln City, or rural areas that resemble small farmlands between Tidwell and Little York Road.

Originally called Acreage Home, African-Americans have been occupying this section of Houston since the beginning of the 1900s as the community would continue to grow year by year with developments of neighborhoods and housing complexes.

acres homes houston ghetto

Garden City of Acres Homes

Just north of downtown is the 5th Ward, which is broken down into Bucktown, Liberty Road, Brewster Park, Coke Street Apartments, Kelly Courts, West Street, the Bottom, Bac Street, and 2Cs around Lockwood and Collingsworth.

5th Ward is one of Texas’ most legendary communities as this large North Side neighborhood is the home of numerous historic Texans like J. Prince the founder of Rap-A-Lot and Scarface and the Geto Boys, boxer George Forman and others.

While Lockwood and Hirsch streets run north and south in the 5th Ward neighborhood, these two streets are also the heart of two neighboring neighborhoods just north of the 5th Ward, Kashmere Gardens and Trinity Gardens.

Trinity Gardens

By the 1970s, African-Americans were leaving the 5th Ward and began to move further north on the North Side in previous communities that were occupied by Houston’s white families, with Kashmere and Trinity Gardens being two of the first neighborhoods that African-Americans relocated to.

Following the movement into Kashmere and Trinity Gardens the city’s black population would further grow in neighborhoods along Homestead Road, Wayside Drive, and Mesa Drive, which would fully establish the city’s Northeast Side.

While there are other North Side neighborhoods like Hardy, 605 Berry Road, Carverdale, Heather Glen and Willow Run, JFK Boulevard of Aldine and others, the heart of the North Side is within the original Northwest side and Northeast side ‘hoods of the Houston ghetto.


Currently, the black population of Houston for the past couple decades having been moving outside of the Sam Houston Tollway in areas like Greenspoint or Cranbrook, which makes one wonder what the future of the North Side’s black population will be.


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*Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

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