Founded in 1974, The Woodlands has emerged from a fledgling outpost of the Greater Houston area to a thriving community where people live, work, play and learn.
A masterplanned community far ahead of its time, The Woodlands is the brainchild of its founder George Mitchell who wished to create a thoughtful and diverse living experience that balanced the spirit of neighborhood life with business and innovation—nestled within a grounded natural setting. Today, as many as four generations of the same family call The Woodlands their home.
Over the years, The Woodlands has grown to include nine residential villages, The Woodlands Town Center®, Hughes Landing® and The Woodlands Waterway®, the community’s nexus of business, entertainment and culture. The Woodlands boasts some of the highest-ranked schools in the greater Houston region, award-winning medical and wellness centers, and places of worship of virtually every denomination. Today, approximately 2,460 businesses, including the headquarters of major corporations, are based in The Woodlands.
With 151 parks, 220 miles of hiking and bike trails, pools, public art, water sport destinations and signature golf courses, there is never a shortage of things to do and ways to enjoy The Woodlands’ lush natural surroundings.
And yet, for all the community has to offer, the forest remains. Lush stands of trees line major roadways, leading one visiting architect to call The Woodlands “the invisible city.” Over the years, nearly one million tree seedlings have been given away at Arbor Day festivals and planted to enrich the community’s forested beauty. Today, almost 8,000 of our total 28,500 acres (and unprecedented 28%) remains open space. A symbol of our diverse and ever-expanding spirit, our unique bird population continues to thrive in The Woodlands, with more species calling it home than ever before.
- 1964: George Mitchell buys the Grogan Cochran Lumber Co.’s land, including 2,800 acres that would become the first piece of The Woodlands’ property.
- 1964-1974: In the course of 300 transactions, an additional 17,455 acres are obtained.
- 1971: The community’s first public school, Lamar Elementary School, opens.
- Oct. 19, 1974: The Woodlands celebrates grand opening. Village of Grogan’s Mill opens.
- 1976: Eckerd Drug purchases land and develops the first distribution facility in Trade Center, a rail-served business park. McCullough High School opens.
- 1978: Jamail’s, The Woodland’s first supermarket, opens.
- 1980: Construction of The Woodlands National Bank Building gets underway.
- 1982: Houston Advanced Research Center constructs its first building and announces plans to develop a research campus. Research Forest is established.
- 1983: Total investment in The Woodlands reaches $1 billion. Village of Cochran’s Crossing opens.
- 1984: Village of Indian Springs opens.
- 1985: The Woodlands Hospital opens. Lake Woodlands is filled with water.
- 1986: Harmony Bridge opens, providing a new route into Harris County. South County YMCA opens its new building in The Woodlands.
- 1987: Hardy Toll Road opens.
- 1988: The John Cooper School opens.
- 1990: The Woodlands’ population surpasses 30,000.
- 1990: The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion opens. Total investment exceeds $2 billion.
- 1992: The Woodlands is united in the Conroe school district. The Woodlands Community Association shifts to resident control.
- 1993: There is a formal announcement of Town Center, a commercial, retail and urban residential center.
- 1994: The Town Center Improvement District is formed.
- 1994: Texas 242 opens. Cochran’s Crossing Shopping Center opens. The Woodlands’ population exceeds 40,000. The Woodlands Mall opens. The Village of Alden Bridge celebrates its grand opening.
- 1995: Montgomery County College opens. Jobs in The Woodlands exceed 15,000. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion expands its seating capacity to 13,000.
- 1996: University Center building breaks ground. The Woodlands High School opens. The first car drives across the new Woodlands Parkway overpass above Grogan’s Mill Road. Tinseltown Cinema in Town Center shows its first movie.1997: The population exceeds 50,000. Construction begins on the Alden Bridge Shopping Center. The Woodlands Corp. and its assets are purchased by a partnership of Morgan Stanley and Crescent Real Estate Equities for $543 million.
- 1999: The Woodlands celebrates its 25th anniversary. Harper’s Landing opens. Construction of The Woodlands Waterway begins.
- 2000: Windsor Hills “active adult” neighborhood opens. Waterway Plaza One office building is completed.
- 2001: Sterling Ridge Village Center opens. College Park Retail Center opens. The entryway is unveiled.
- 2002: Lake Woodlands Drive extends over Lake Woodlands. Gosling Road Bridge opens, providing a connector to Harris County. The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center opens. The Anadarko Tower is occupied. Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. occupies new building in Town Center. The population exceeds 70,000.
- 2003: First urban residential projects open on the Waterway in Town Center. Market Street project is under way in Town Center. Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital completes $78 million expansion. St Luke’s Woodlands Community Medical Center opens. YMCA opens in Sterling Ridge. Construction of Indian Springs Village Center begins. Rouse Company purchases Real Estate Equities’ 52.7 percent interest in The Woodlands.
- 2004: Market Street opens.
- 2005: The Woodlands College Park High School opens.
- 2006: City of Houston and The Woodlands announce agreement allowing The Woodlands to determine its future as it contributes toward regional projects.
- 2007: The Village of Creekside Park opens. Legislation provides authority to enter Regional Participation Agreements with the city of Houston and city of Conroe to establish, with voter approval, a new governance body for The Woodlands. In November elections propositions pass authorizing the expansion of former Town Center Improvement District to cover The Woodlands, reorganization of the district’s board to a seven-member resident-elected board and allowing the district to assess an ad valorem property tax. The Town Center Improvement District changes its name to The Woodlands Township.
- 2008: Voters elect first five at-large representatives to The Woodlands Township.
- 2009: The Woodlands Township board adopts budget and sets property tax level at 32.8 cents per $100 assessed value, replacing Community Association assessments.
- 2009: Riva Row Park and Boat House opens along The Woodlands Waterway.
- 2010: The Woodlands Township assumes full responsibility for Community Association services. U.S. Census shows population at 97,023.
- 2011: Howard Hughes buys Morgan Stanley’s interest in The Woodlands.
- 2011: ExxonMobil announces plans for a new north Houston campus along the future site of the Grand Parkway near the intersection of Interstate 45 and Hardy Toll Road.
- 2012: Estimated population exceeds 105,000. St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital undergoes a $25 million expansion project.
- 2012: Sam Houston State University – The Woodlands Center opens its new academic campus in the Village of College Park in The Woodlands.
- 2013: Howard Hughes officially grand opens Hughes Landing, a 66-acre mixed-use development on Lake Woodlands with plans for Restaurant Row, retail, entertainment at the Hughes Landing Band Shell, hotel, and Class A office space.
- 2013: Howard Hughes opens One Hughes Landing, marking the first, Class A office building in Hughes Landing, a mixed-use development overlooking Lake Woodlands.
- 2013: Founder of The Woodlands, George P. Mitchell passes away at the age of 94.
- 2014: Howard Hughes opens Two Hughes Landing, a 197,714-square-foot, eight-story Class A office building in Hughes Landing.
- 2014: The Woodlands celebrates its 40th anniversary on October 19, 2014, with a community-wide celebration at Northshore Park on Lake Woodlands.
- 2014: The Woodlands Master Plan wins Vision Award for Exemplary Leadership Development of Distinction Award from ULI Houston.
- 2015: Howard Hughes celebrates the opening of Hughes Landing with a ribbon-cutting ceremony including Restaurant Row, retail anchor Whole Foods Market®, 1725 and 1735 Hughes Landing and One Lakes Edge®, an eight-story multifamily community in Hughes Landing.
- 2015: Creekside Park Village Center opens, anchored by an H-E-B and featuring Creekside Park Village Green complete with retail, dining, services and a village green for leisure and entertainment.
- 2015: Waterway Square® Bridge along The Woodlands Waterway® is installed.
- 2016: Howard Hughes opens Three Hughes Landing, a 12-story, 321,000-square-foot Class A office building in Hughes Landing. Embassy Suites by Hilton at Hughes Landing opens in Hughes Landing. Lakes Edge Boathouse at Hughes Landing also opens.
- 2016: The Westin at The Woodlands opens along The Woodlands Waterway.
- 2016: Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands opens its outpatient tower for pediatric care, with plans for an inpatient pediatric tower.
- 2016: The Woodlands wins Master Planned Community of the Year from the Greater Houston Builders Association.
- 2016: Hughes Landing wins Landmark Award, mixed-use category from Houston Business Journal. The Woodlands wins Humanitarian of the Year from the Greater Houston Builders Association.
- 2017: The Village of Creekside Park celebrates its 10th anniversary.
- 2017: One Lakes Edge wins Innovation Award from the University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business.
- 2017: Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital opens a 470,000-squre-foot campus in The Woodlands.
- 2018: Howard Hughes celebrates the completion of a 1.8-mile linear park through Town Center – The Woodlands Waterway® – an 18-year public-private partnership.
- 2018: Howard Hughes acquires the two former Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I) Class-A office buildings, repositioning the campus as Lake Front North at Hughes Landing. With the addition of Lake Front North, Hughes Landing becomes 79 acres.
- 2018: Lake Woodlands Crossing in The Woodlands Town Center opens with Total Wine & More and ULTA Beauty as its anchors.
- 2018: Creekside Park The Residences opens as the first multifamily development in the Village of Creekside Park.
- 2018: Howard Hughes breaks ground on its second multifamily development in Hughes Landing, Two Lakes Edge. Howard Hughes also broke ground on Primrose School in Hughes Landing.
- 2018: The Woodlands wins Trailblazer of the Year award from the Greater Houston Builders Association.
- 2019: Howard Hughes acquires two office towers from Occidental Petroleum at the entrance of The Woodlands. The iconic towers are rebranded as The Woodlands® Towers at The Waterway.
- 2019: Creekside Park The Residences, the first multifamily development in the Village of Creekside Park opens, featuring 292 residences.
- 2019: Creekside Park West, a new 12-acre retail hub in Creekside Park Village Center opens, anchored by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas.
- 2019: MD Anderson opens its new free-standing, cancer care facility in The Woodlands, a build-to-suit development of Howard Hughes, in the Village of College Park.
- 2020: Howard Hughes relocates its corporate headquarters from Dallas to The Woodlands.
- 2020: Two Lakes Edge, an eight-story luxury multifamily development with 386 units, opens in Hughes Landing.
- 2020: The Lane at Waterway, a seven-story urban boutique multifamily community opens in The Woodlands Town Center.
- 2021: Creekside Park The Grove, a luxury multifamily community with 360 residences, opens in Creekside Park Village Center.
- 2022: The Woodlands is the largest master planned community in the world to earn LEED precertification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Woodlands and its sister community, Bridgeland, became the first master planned communities in Texas to earn LEED precertification.
- 2022: Howard Hughes commissions internationally recognized artist Alex Katz to create a 35,000-square-foot mural, Flowers, for a new 2.3-acre outdoor community gathering space in Waterway Square. Flowers debuts as one of the largest art murals in Texas.
- 2022: Kirby Ice House, featuring the largest bar in Texas at 141 feet, opens in The Woodlands Town Center.
- 2023: Howard Hughes commissions Squidsoup, an international collaborative group of artists researchers, technologists and designers—to create Shoal. Featuring 750 individual orbs of light suspended in air and programmed to seamlessly flow in mesmerizing movement to sound, Shoal opens in Hughes Landing.
- 2023: Estimated population reaches 120,000.
- 2023: Howard Hughes gifts the award-winning, The Woodlands Waterway, to The Woodlands Township for residents, visitors and future generations to enjoy.
- 2023: Howard Hughes breaks ground on luxury multifamily residences, 1 Riva Row overlooking The Woodlands Waterway.
- 2023: On October 16, 2023, the kickoff celebration begins for The Woodlands 50th Anniversary.
- 2024: On October 19, 2024, The Woodlands turns 50 years old.