Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
1 Westcott Street, Houston, TX, USA
www.mfah.org/bayoubend - (713)639-7750
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens Houston Reviews
A Part of Houston's History Feb 14, 2010
Within a busy part of Houston, visitors can find an oasis at Bayou Bend. Built in 1927, the main house and gardens offer 14 acres with peaceful trails.
Bayou Bend is the legacy of a Houston philanthropist, Miss Ima Hogg, who unfortunately, had a very unusual name. This name is pronounced "I'm a hog" and there were a lot of bad jokes about this when I took Texas history as a teenager.
Miss Hogg's father was the first native born governor of Texas. She and her brothers settled in Houston, building a house filled with priceless American antiques and installing spectacular gardens.
The gardens are packed in March/April when azaleas are in bloom, as the bright pinks and purples are vibrant. This home is part of the annual Houston Azalea Trail in the spring.
The house itself is interesting as the furniture gives an idea of early American life. The early settlers typically lived in one or two rooms, and there was generally only one sitting chair for either the head of the house or the guest of honor. Everyone else sat on stools or benches. I especially liked some of the card tables in the house as there are slots for candles. As card games became socially acceptable, this was one of the few activities where men and women could both participate.
The Texas room is my favorite part of the Bayou Bend. Visitors will notice an iron upstairs porch, which has now been glassed in. Originally, this porch was open. In the days before air conditioning (which is a necessity in Houston's brutal summers), the Hoggs would sleep on the porch when it was too hot to sleep inside.
Tours in the house include an audio headset and run around 45 minutes. The timing is about right to see all the rooms and furniture.
This property is now owned by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Admission to Bayou Bend is $10.00 for both the house and gardens or just $3.00 for the gardens only.
Getting to the property is interesting (and a little scary!) as visitors must cross a swinging bridge over Buffalo Bayou. This bridge has a wind sock and is shut if the winds exceed 45 mph.
I recommend Bayou Bend if you have an afternoon to spare. The gardens, in particular, are beautiful, and the house is filled with historical artifacts. A few downsides are that purses, cell phones or cameras are not allowed in the main house and must be stored in a locker at the visitor center.
I take visitors to Houston to Bayou Bend as it's a part of Texas history.
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