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Oak Forest was established in 1947 by Oak Forest Realty Corporation, owned by Frank Sharp, a developer who would later establish Sharpstown. Oak Forest Realty Corporation built houses only in Section 1 (Golf Dr to Oak Forest Dr, and Du Barry Ln to W 43rd St). Sharp would later develop the neighborhood for 17 additional sections by building streets and installing utility lines, but left the home construction to other contractors.
The first house, which served as a sales office, was built at the corner of Golf and Fisher Dr. Almost all of the first houses were sold to World War II veterans for $8,000-$10,000. One of the original homeowners, Ruth Metzger, bought her house in April 1947, when it was only a slab and still lived there through 2008.
Originally, there was no telephone service. If a homeowner needed to place a call, they had to use one in the construction shack on the corner of Wakefield and Kinley Lane or one in the house of Frank Sharp’s niece on Wakefield. Telephone service finally arrived in the middle of 1948.
Sufficient acreage in Oak Forest was set aside for churches, parks and schools. Areas were also reserved for commercial development and this accounts for the many grocery stores, cleaners, service stations, etc., which are located along W. 43rd St. between Ella Blvd. and Oak Forest Dr.
When it was first established, Oak Forest was a golf course and a part of the Aldine Independent School District. The land was ceded to Houston ISD. The original Oak Forest Elementary was built in 1951, followed by Black Junior High School in 1958 and construction on Waltrip High School began in 1959 with the first classes held in the fall of 1960. Stevens Elementary was added as the area grew beyond the capacity of one elementary school.
Oak Forest was originally an unincorporated area in Harris County. It was annexed by the City of Houston about 1949. Sixty years later, there are 5,523 homes in Oak Forest with a population of over 23,000. Oak Forest is the third largest area after the annexation of Kingwood.