For over 25 years, the North Montrose Civic Association has been a driving force in our community. During the past 25 years, NMCA has helped foster the dramatic transformation of a neighborhood that was in serious decline in 1980 to today, where we represent the epicenter of Houston's urban corridor. From historic homes to new construction, from boutiques and fine restaurants to exciting new development projects, North Montrose is a far cry from the neighborhood of yesterday. Ever wonder how it all began? Here is a glimpse of the beginnings of NMCA:
In 1980, a Houston Chamber of Commerce committee identified several older, inner-city areas where it was believed the formation of neighborhood organizations might reverse declining qualities. A project team was appointed for the area west of Taft between West Gray and Shepherd Drive.
The area, which was developed in the 1920s and 1930s, was in decline. A major concern for all was a growing crime rate. Many of its residents, like their houses, were elderly. But a growing number of young people were beginning to invest in the area due to its closeness to Downtown and, with the recent expansion of Montrose from Westheimer North, it had become convenient to every part of the city.
Almost 50 residents responded to the project team’s meeting called June 10 at Wharton Elementary School to discuss the need/desire for a neighborhood civic club. Planning committees were formed at a follow-up meeting of residents on June 25 at the landmark Allbritton’s Cafeteria on Waugh Drive, and Larry Albertelli, a free-lance writer who lived at 420 W. Polk, was elected acting chairman.
The North Montrose Civic Association (NMCA) was born on July 24, 1980 at an organizational meeting in the old YWCA building at 3515 Allen Parkway. By-laws were adopted, officers were elected, including Albertelli as president, and dues were set at $6 for resident members and $24 for associate members.
The first project of the new NMCA was a massive heavy trash removal. It took two Saturdays in 100-degree August weather to cover the entire area from Taft to Shepherd Drive. Decade-old trash was put out by residents and loaded into loaned City garbage trucks by the male members. The female volunteers went along to encourage residents to join the club. Other members prepared great covered dish feasts for the volunteers, which began the tradition of serving food at NMCA projects and meetings.
As called for in the by-laws, the first Annual Meeting/Election was held on November 23, 1980, in the Allen Park Inn’s Steamboat Room. Robert J. Jones was elected president.
The First Annual Holiday Social of the club was a big success in the Allen Park Inn’s beautiful Top Hat Room. Here, a tradition began of exchanging “From My House to Your House” gifts at the annual social.
The year 1980 ended with 99 Charter Members, many of whom contributed much to the club’s successes in its succeeding years.