Majestic oaks, slender pine trees sensitive to every vagabond breeze, sturdy-limbed hickories, dominate this bit of woodland which is Idylwood. Winding lanes and drives carry out the enchanting note of natural beauty. Parks and playgrounds … are located in particularly adapted spots. Along the eastern edge of the addition, Brays Bayou with its delightful wooded banks makes a contribution of sylvan splendor. To the west, on its great landscaped tract, beautiful Villa de Matel stands framed against a background of towering pines. Overlooking Idylwood on the north is the green expanse of the Houston Country Club. With these picturesque surroundings, Idylwood homes suggest a world apart from the busy noisy city.
So begins the description of Idylwood in a 1930s promotional brochure. Idylwood was being developed as a “residential park” complete with rolling, almost hilly topography, a lazy bayou meandering through, and heavily-treed lots. The truth of these claims is readily apparent in the pages of the brochure, shown below.
Idylwood was promoted by its developer, John A. Embry, as a reasonably priced, uniquely landscaped subdivision. Few areas of Houston, a large city located in Texas’ gently rolling Gulf Coast country, offer any sort of hilly terrain. Idylwood is one of these.
The tract of land on which Idylwood was developed was purchased just before an advance in property values in the East End, and the benefit of this was passed on to the homebuyers. Also, the naturally sloping topography presented a drainage system which needed no improving, and so a storm-sewage system was not installed during the development of the neighborhood, adding to the cost savings to the homebuyers. The natural landscaping in the area was left as-is, except for clearing out underbrush and surplus small trees. As the original brochure described it:
Nature played the role of landscape architect in Idylwood; and Nature’s work called for no retouching.
For these reasons Idylwood is of noteworthy interest to people interested in the happy combination of this unusual type of residential property with great economy in cost.