Historic fifth ward


1866: Fifth Ward was officially founded with an elected alderman

1925: Forty black-owned businesses operated on Lyons Avenue

1927: Phillis Wheatley High School opened as one of the largest African-American high schools in the U.S.

The 1930s: New businesses opened around the neighborhood including the Club Matinee on Lyons Avenue

1941: The DeLuxe Theater opened on Lyons Avenue

1943: The Julia C. Hester House community center founded. It moved to Solo Street in 1946.

1947: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital opened on Lyons Avenue

1964: The Civil Rights Act passed and families began seeking opportunities outside of Fifth

1965-1967: Interstate 10 construction completed, cutting the neighborhood in half

1973: The DeLuxe Theater closes its doors

1989: Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp. founded to revitalize the neighborhood

The 1990s: CRC gains funding for new single-family homes

2014: Renovation begins on the DeLuxe Theater turning it into a community event space

2016: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital sold and now under redevelopment by the Fifth Ward CRC

2018: Fifth Ward Chamber of Commerce founded by small business owners

Fifth Ward is a historical political district (Ward) and a community of Houston, Texas, United States, northeast of Downtown. It is bounded by Buffalo Bayou, Jensen Drive, Liberty Road, and Lockwood Drive.

The Fifth Ward, one of the six wards of Houston, was created partly from two other wards, the First Ward, which ceded the area to the north and east of White Oak Bayou and Little White Oak Bayou, and the Second Ward, which ceded all land within the Houston city limits to the north of Buffalo Bayou.

After the American Civil War, newly freed slaves (freemen) began settling in the sparsely settled area. In 1866, it became the Fifth Ward and an alderman from the ward was elected to Houston's City Council. By the mid-1880s, it was virtually all black, home to working-class people who made their livings in Houston's eastside ship channel and industrial areas or as domestics for wealthy Houstonians.


Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, founded in 1865 by a former slave, is the oldest church in the ward. Five other churches are over a hundred years old. Also, home to the famous "Island of Hope (Anderson Memorial Temple) COGIC" the oldest Pentecostal church in Fifth Ward. Over the years it had been home to the city's minority and immigrant population. Although it had been a mostly black area, Latinos, Filipino Americans, Pakistani Americans, and Italian Catholics also moved there.


5th Ward is the home to many businesses that tend to be small in structure and personnel.  About 1600 businesses and non-profits are in the 77020 and 77026 Zip codes (which covers slightly more than the 5th Ward). According to past data, the top industries are retail, health care and social assistance, wholesale trade, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. Of those more than half – 52% make less than $1 million in sales.


An overwhelming majority said that they were happy to be in 5th Ward, especially because of the loyal customer base. However, some business owners express doing business in the 5th Ward can be a challenge because it’s hard to attract new customers. They want support to not just promote their business, but the neighborhood as well.


One of the 5th Ward Chamber of Commerce’s goal is to facilitate this vision.