Area park passed down through generations
On FM 2920 west of Mueschke Road—adjacent to the historical community of Rose Hill—sits a 133-acre nature preserve nearly untouched by the modernization of the surrounding area. Kleb Woods Nature Preserve provides trails and wildlife along with a glimpse into the history of agricultural life.
“Kleb Woods is a great asset to introduce the residents of the area to history in general and Texas history specifically,” said Fred Collins, director of Cypress Top Historic Park and Kleb Woods Nature Preserve. “It allows people to see into early 20th century rural farm life, which is so different from life today that the experiential learning while at the historic farm is about the only way for young people to connect with their heritage and the not so distant past of the area.”
The land that would become Kleb Woods Nature Preserve was first acquired by Andreas Kleb in 1871 for the cost of about $250 and was passed on to his son Edward in 1903. Edward Kleb and his wife, Minnie, had two children, Elmer and Myrtle. The property was used primarily for farming, cattle and planting trees during this time, according to the Cypress Historical Society.
“We have found and collected receipts and invoices that give us pieces to the puzzle,” Collins said.
After Elmer Kleb’s parents and sister passed away, the farm was left to him as the only heir. He never married and had no children. Elmer Kleb took an interest in tree planting and is said to be responsible for much of the woods seen today.
With the threat of losing his land to tax collectors, Elmer Kleb enlisted the help of the Houston Audubon Society. A few years after taking office, Precinct 3 commissioner Steve Radack helped save the property through the Trust for Public Lands and Texas Parks and Wildlife. In 1991, Precinct 3 purchased the property from Elmer Kleb, establishing it as a nature preserve. Elmer Kleb died in 1999.
“The park has a good amount of history, and [the precinct]has done a great job preserving it,” volunteer James Pulliam said. “A lot of people don’t even know [Kleb Woods] is here. When I first saw it, I was totally and completely amazed.”
Today, Kleb Woods has roughly two miles of hiking trails throughout the tract and is home to more than 50 species of birds and dozens of species of plant life. Bird walks happen every Wednesday, blacksmith services and demonstrations are Tuesday mornings, as well as classes in journaling and German heritage and daily tours.
The woods are separated into two sections.
The smaller tract is about 32 acres and houses picnic tables, barbecue necessities and restroom facilities. This section is open from 7 a.m. until dusk.
The second section is about 99 acres and is the former homestead of the Kleb family. Open every day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., this area boasts several nature trails and a historic farm house and nature center.
Nature Preserve, 20605 FM 2920, Houston, 281-496-2177