City of Hillcrest Village History
In the late 1950’s, Monsanto Chemical approached the Chamber of Commerce in Alvin, Texas about building a subdivision. This subdivision would be designed to provide housing for employees and executives of their new Chocolate Bayou industrial plant. Pat Patterson bought the first acreage from E. A. Richards to begin the subdivision. They looked for a builder and developer to go forward with the plans. At the same time, Paul Hoffman started Bayou Bend subdivision to build smaller homes for Monsanto employees outside the main subdivision planned for the city.
The first house in the village proper was built on the corner of Main and Hillcrest Drive in the late spring of 1961 at a cost of $24,000. New houses in Hillcrest topped the $30,000 mark by 1964. Hillcrest Drive, Crestmont Drive, and Ridgemont Drive were developed first and were limestone until 1963. Homeowners and developers had purchased and built out most of the property on these streets by 1965.
Concurrently, R.E. Strickland purchased the remainder of the land on the east side of Hillcrest. He added more streets, with other builders designing and building more houses on those streets. People outside of Monsanto began buying lots. The first three residents were Charles McCauley, Hoyd Clark, and Paul Patterson. The west side of Hillcrest (across Main Street) was developed, sold, and built in the mid 1970s.
They View their Work
The village sits on high ground with very few low spots. It is higher than the City of Alvin, measuring 43 feet above sea level while Alvin measures only 39 feet above sea level. In 1961 you could see all the way to Alvin because there were very few trees and not many houses. Looking to the west revealed Alvin Community College, while looking southeast provided a view of the industrial plants all the way to Texas City. Within Hillcrest Village you could see two high spots in the land.
Mr. Richards and Mr. Patterson joked that there must be a hill in that spot since Hillcrest was higher than Alvin. Legend holds that the idea of a crest on such a hill is where the village gets its name. They also considered the name Monsanto for the subdivision.
They Subdivide & Reunite
They originally planned to build houses for the executives and managers of Monsanto on the north side with larger lots and wide streets and smaller homes with narrower streets on the south side for employees. They named they north side Hillcrest Village and Timberlane Manor. The entrance to Timberlane Manor was on Sherwood Street. You can still find concrete slabs in the yards of both homes on the corner of Main and Sherwood Street where they were going to install walls and flowers welcoming residents and guests to Timberlane Manor. The idea of separate subdivisions faded between 1963 and 1964 resulting in one development called Hillcrest Village.
The City of Hillcrest Village incorporated in 1963 to avoid annexation by the City of Alvin. The City decided that no businesses would be located in the village. Early city activities included a village picnic and the lighting of the village at Christmastime, a tradition that continues today. The early phone lines were provided by Southwestern Bell using a party line system with an operator.
The City of Hillcrest Village started as a subdivision for one company’s employees. In 1961 the village started with three residents. It has grown into a village of diverse citizens from all walks of life. In the 2000 census the village could boast of 722 residents.