The Woodlands was founded in 1974 by American businessman, philanthropist, and real estate developer George Mitchell. Mitchell used his independent oil and gas company Mitchell Energy & Development Corps. to pioneer techniques of natural gas extraction that have made a great impact on American energy sustainability and the environment. He carried that idea of sustainability through into his development plan for The Woodlands, calling for a layout that preserved trees, minimized flooding, and created a pleasant urban environment. He and his wife Cynthia donated much of their time and energy to The Woodlands community, and their influence resonates in the many local amenities that bear their name. Their other philanthropic endeavors include substantial donations to the National Academies of Science and the Texas A&M University Physics Department.
Part of George Mitchell’s vision for The Woodlands was the concept of a “Master-Planned Community.” When designing such a community, before any ground is broken, developers work with city planners and other public sectors to ensure a balanced, beautiful, and self-sufficient community layout. The Woodlands was planned specifically to maintain the natural forestry of the landscape, while creating many family-friendly parks, recreational fields, and ponds. Many neighborhoods are seamlessly integrated with parks, public pools, golf courses, and nature trails while sitting mere minutes from shopping, restaurants, and other amenities. Also integrated throughout the community are the celebrated school systems, most within walking and biking distance from popular neighborhoods. A master-planned community aims for the perfect balance between beauty and convenience, providing residents with easy and comfortable living.
The Woodlands is one of the nation’s most successful master-planned communities, located about 30 miles Northwest of Houston. Within the 24 square miles, there are 9 distinct villages, 120 parks, 13 public swimming pools, and 140 miles of hike and bike trails. The Woodlands is extremely family friendly, and has been ranked one of the top 10 safest communities in Texas. Some statistics about the approximately 90,000 residents include:
- Average Household Size of 2.78 people
- 47% of households have children under 18 years old
- 69% of households include married couples living together
- 19% of households are made up of individuals
- 7.5% of households include someone over the age of 65 living alone
- Median Household Income – $95,000
- Average Family Income – $110,000
Renowned for its excellent schools, The Woodlands students are served by three school districts: Conroe ISD, Tomball ISD, and Magnolia ISD. Among the schools that serve The Woodlands are 14 elementary schools (all exemplary rated by the State of Texas in 2011), 8 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Also located in The Woodlands are Lone Star College and the Lone Star College – University Center, where over 20,000 students are enrolled seeking degree-related and continuing education instruction.
In addition to outstanding schools and parks, The Woodlands offers numerous entertainment opportunities for all ages. You can catch big names in concert at the world-class, not-for-profit Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, which often holds free Houston Symphony concerts and other local events. You can find endless shopping on any budget at The Woodlands Mall and Market Street. You can find all the new blockbusters at the two movie theaters, and have a romantic or fun dinner at any of the great restaurants on the Waterway. The Woodlands also hosts many free events for families and residents of all ages; for an up-to-date calendar, visit The Woodlands Convention and Visitors’ Bureau or the official governance site of The Woodlands Township.