Initial development of Kingwood began in the early 1970s by the Friendswood Development Co. with the creation of several villages, according to Dee Price, president of the Kingwood Service Association.
“Friendswood Development Co. was a subsidiary of Exxon, and they had a partnership with the King Ranch to develop this parcel of land,” Price said. “That’s where the name Kingwood came from.”
The McWhirters were the first family to move into Kingwood in Trailwood Village, according to a community newsletter from the neighborhood’s website. At the time, Kingwood homes were priced in the low $30,000s, Foster Elementary School had just opened, and a shopping center was in the works, per the newsletter.
Although the area quickly began expanding outward, Price said the original goal of creating and maintaining minimally invasive neighborhoods with accessible amenities has not wavered.
“The philosophy of maintaining the ‘livable forest’ is there,” she said. “All of the community associations and community leaders strive to maintain that philosophy and that environment.”
In the late 1980s, Theresa Duerringer was drawn to Kingwood after seeing the thoughtful planning put into the neighborhoods, each having its own park, with a system of trails connecting everything.
“It had [a] very small-town feel, but yet you had a 25-minute drive to be down to downtown Houston,” Duerringer said.
Duerringer said the small-town feel she initially moved to the community for is still present, something she saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as residents rallied to support local businesses. After 33 years in Kingwood, Duerringer said she considers many of her neighbors to be her best friends.
“It’s been a great place to live,” Duerringer said.
Kelly Schafler contributed to this report.