Bellaire is a city in southwest Harris County, Texas, United States, within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city population was 16,855. It is surrounded by the cities of Houston and West University Place. Bellaire was founded in 1908 by William Wright Baldwin, who was the president of the South End Land Company. Baldwin, a native of Iowa, was well known as the vice president of the Burlington Railroad. Bellaire was founded on what was part of William Marsh Rice's 9,449 acres (38.24 km2) ranch. Baldwin surveyed the eastern 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of the ranch into small truck farms. He named those farms "Westmoreland Farms". Baldwin started Bellaire in the middle of "Westmoreland Farms" to serve as a residential neighborhood and an agricultural trading center. South End Land Company advertised to farmers in the Midwestern United States. Baldwin stated that the town was named "Bellaire", or "Good Air" for its breezes. Bellaire may have been named after Bellaire, Ohio, a town served by one of Baldwin's rail lines.
Bellaire's housing lots are 75 feet (23 m) by 130 feet (40 m), allowing for houses larger than those that could be built on typical 50 feet (15 m) by 120 feet (37 m) West University Place lots. A Bellaire lot can accommodate a house with a detached garage and a swimming pool, while the typical West University Place lot could accommodate a newly constructed Georgian house described by Don Stowers of the Houston Post as "lot-hugging." The more spacious and inexpensive housing lots prompted area home seekers to consider Bellaire.
The original Bellaire housing stock typically consisted of 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom post-World War II houses described by Stowers as "smallish." Because of the attributes, developers did not hesitate to tear these houses down and build new houses. Some individuals chose to renovate their houses instead of having them torn down. Many individuals who would otherwise renovate the houses reconsidered their decisions as the land value increased. In some cases the land value was higher than the value of the structure on the lot. Some subdivisions had larger houses, particularly the Carroll subdivision south of Bellaire Boulevard and the Braeburn Country Club Estates subdivision between Chimney Rock and Rice. Many of the houses in those subdivisions were built in the 1950s and early 1960s, and many were on .5 acres (0.20 ha) lots. Karl Lewis, the vice president and sales manager of John Daugherty Realtors, said that many of the houses were "still quite attractive" and "similar to the large Tanglewood homes." In 1992 smaller lots in Bellaire were about $50,000 ($92210.1 in today's money) and up, while larger lots were $300,000 ($553260.61 in today's money) to $500,000 ($922101.02 in today's money).
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