Acres Homes, once considered the South's largest unincorporated black community, is south of Aldine and ten miles northwest of downtown Houston in Harris County. It developed around the time of World War I, when landholders began selling off homesites in plots big enough to allow small gardens and maintain chickens or farm animals. The town derived its name from the fact that land was sold by the acre and not by the lot. The first settlers came from rural areas, attracted by the community's inexpensive land, low taxes, and the absence of city building standards. Residents dug wells and built sanitary facilities, but conditions in the settlement subsequently declined. When the city of Houston approved a plan to annex the area and install water and sewer lines, Acres Homes was a 12½-square-mile, heavily wooded, dispersed slum settlement without transportation or educational facilities. Though 90 percent of the residents were homeowners, most housing was substandard.
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