The Woodlands was founded by visionary George Mitchell. However, to create the #1 community in America, Mitchell needed a team of leaders to make his dreams a reality. Coulson Tough was a key component to the original dream team of The Woodlands Development Company, serving as Senior Vice President of Commercial Design & Construction.
In his role, Tough worked closely with George Mitchell on the initial commercial design and development of The Woodlands. Tough spent 30 years with the development company prior to his retirement in 2003. He was instrumental in the creation of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, among other major milestones in The Woodlands Town Center.
With the news of Coulson Tough’s passing on January 27, we fondly remember him. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coulson Tough. Mr. Tough had a significant role as a leader in the design and creation of The Woodlands we know today,” said Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for The Howard Hughes Corporation. “We will always consider Coulson as one of the founding members of The Woodlands and as a friend.”
When you reflect on Coulson Tough, you have to remember how he helped develop the art program in The Woodlands. George Mitchell and The Woodlands Development Company, now The Howard Hughes Corporation, created a Public Art Fund in 1973, originally overseen by Coulson Tough. Today, there are 56 sculptures funded through the Public Art Fund, and 24 art benches, funded through The Woodlands Arts Council, totaling 80 pieces of art. A percentage of all of The Howard Hughes Corporation’s commercial development goes toward the Public Art Fund.
Tough was previously quoted as saying “The Dreamer”, the iconic sculpture of a man lying in the ground at the median of Woodlands Parkway and South Panther Creek, by sculptor David Phelps, was his favorite.
Tough was named as one of the original The Woodlands Hometown Heroes in 1999. He was involved with the Conroe Independent School District as a trustee and has a Conroe ISD school in The Woodlands bearing his name, Coulson Tough Elementary. In 2019, Mr. Tough was awarded the Legacy Award from The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, in which he was a past chairman. He was also a longtime member of The Woodlands Rotary Club.
Next time you look at “The Dreamer”, remember one of the founding dreamers of The Woodlands, Coulson Tough.