From downtown Houston, Allen Parkway traverses Sam Houston Park to follow Buffalo Bayou upstream for two miles through a riparian park corridor before reaching the gate piers that mark the entrance to River Oaks, Houston's most elite garden suburban community. Planned in 1925 by landscape architects Hare and Hare, this bayou park and parkway visually edited the landscape of Houston's west side to marginalize awareness of the substantial African American community in Fourth Ward just south of the bayou. During the Great Depression, New Deal funding was used to build Houston's largest public housing complex (eventually called Allen Parkway Village) and Jefferson Davis Hospital (the city-county hospital of 1937), so that Fourth Ward completely lost its frontage along the parkway. River Oaks proved its power in the 1930s by surviving the Great Depression and replacing the neighborhoods near Hermann Park and Rice University as thehigh-status neighborhood of Houston.
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