Sunnyside boasts a rich heritage and a strong sense of pride, making it the oldest African American community in southern Houston. According to the 2016 Sunnyside Neighborhood Plan, its first subdivision, Sunnyside Place, was platted back in 1912 by H. H. Holmes, a white former city councilman and real estate developer. According to the Houston Chronicle, Holmes discovered this spot, where the sun seemed to shine a bit brighter, and fittingly named it Sunnyside as a place close to the city but without the hustle and bustle of urban life.
As a true homegrown community, Sunnyside has a remarkable history. In 1918, the first school, Sunnyside School, was established by one of the initial five families in the area. The Sunnyside Civic Club followed in 1936, reflecting the residents' commitment to community development. Notable residents like Pat Thomas and T.C. Pickett played key roles in establishing a water district in 1945 and securing federal funds of $850,000 for transitioning from well water to a municipal water system. Pickett also spearheaded the Sunnyside volunteer fire department, showcasing the community's spirit and dedication to its own welfare. In 1956, Sunnyside was annexed by the City of Houston, marking a significant milestone in its history.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Sunnyside flourished with thriving businesses, earning nicknames like "Black Wall Street" and "Baby River Oaks." The neighborhood's accomplishments continued with several groundbreaking achievements for African Americans. In 1956, Zeb F. Poindexter became the first African-American to graduate from the University of Texas School of Dentistry. Just four years later, he opened his clinic in Sunnyside, housed in a building designed by John S. Chase, the first African-American student at the University of Texas School of Architecture and the first African-American licensed to practice architecture in Texas.
Sunnyside's history is a testament to the tenacity and resilience of its people, and we are proud to celebrate these milestones that have shaped our community into what it is today.
Explore Sunnyside, Texas – a historic African American community with a rich heritage and a vibrant spirit that continues to thrive. Discover its stories, achievements, and contributions that have left an indelible mark on the city's history.
Sunnyside Place platted
Sunnyside Colored School established
Sunnyside Colored School joined the Houston Independent School District
Sunnyside Civic Club established
Sunnyside Water District
First African American Airport in Houston, Sky Ranch Flying Service, was established in Sunnyside at the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch
Sunnyside annexed by the City of Houston
The City of Houston added an incinerator to the Holmes Road Dump
The Sunnyside Civic Club is incorporated by the state
Holmes Community Development Corporation is established
Through the tireless efforts and vision of long time Sunnyside civic club president Rodney Jones, Sr., Sunnyside TIRZ 26 was established
Sunnyside TIRZ annexed
Sunnyside RDA created
TCEQ approves Sunnyside Solar Farm which will be the largest in the country
Sunnyside Management District Activated