Jim Carman (left), president Houston Region for Howard Hughes, and Dr. Ann Snyder (center), chairman of the Board of Directors for The Woodlands Township, presided over The Woodlands 50th Anniversary kickoff announcement. The event brought together current and founding leaders, including Grant Mitchell (right), son of Cynthia and George Mitchell.
George Mitchell's vision still guides The Woodlands today.
Public art has always been a priority in The Woodlands, going back to its initial development and founder George Mitchell. The Woodlands Arts Council keeps that going. (Photo by Jessica T. Payne)
The George Mitchell Nature Preserve in The Woodlands covers nearly 1,800 acres. (Photo courtesy The Woodlands Township)
Waterway Square in The Woodlands is just one of the interesting hubs in The Woodlands.
Public art has always been a priority in The Woodlands, going back to its initial development and founder, George Mitchell, according to Executive Director of The Woodlands Arts Council Jenny Carattini-Wright. (Photo by Jessica T. Payne)
Get ready for a year-long program of festivities to celebrate The Woodlands’ monumental 50th anniversary, all culminating in a grand ceremony open to the public on the official anniversary date — October 19, 2024.
Howard Hughes, together with The Woodlands Township, unveiled plans for the yearlong celebration to honor half a century of excellence in The Woodlands at an evening celebrating the community at The Woodlands Towers on Monday night.
The elegant evening — chaired by Jim Carman, president of the Houston Region for Howard Hughes, and Dr. Ann Snyder, chairman of the Board of Directors for The Woodlands Township — included many exciting teases of what will come in this 50th anniversary fun that will cover an entire calendar year.
Carman kicked things off by paying homage to The Woodlands’ visionary original founder George Mitchell.
“Nobody would be here, literally in this room, if wasn’t for George Mitchell,” Carman says. “George Mitchell was a visionary. He was an innovator. He was a risk taker. And he was meticulously thoughtful about his approach to development.”
Another touching tribute George Mitchell came from his son Grant Mitchell. Grant recounted his experiences growing up with his parents, their love for the natural world and their compassion for others. He spoke of fond memories with his family, his parents’ hopes and dreams for The Woodlands and the future.
“Of all of my father’s many accomplishments, it was the creation of The Woodlands that made him the most proud,” Grant Mitchell says. “I am gratified when I meet someone who has recently moved to The Woodlands, and they tell me about how ideal the community is.
“Their kids ride bikes through trees to schools, and their work is nearby. Most of all, it is welcoming and they say they feel they belong. It is up to each one of you to ensure that those values advance toward an even brighter tomorrow.
“The Woodlands is not their creation anymore. It is yours.”
The party also brought some poignant words from Bob Hibbert, one of The Woodlands’ first ever residents. Introduced as the third person to move into the groundbreaking master planned community, Hibbert started working for George Mitchell and Associates in 1971. He was also one of the first volunteers for The Woodlands Fire Department.
Hibbert shared some nostalgic memories about those first days of The Woodlands and amused the crowd with his tales of time gone by.
Charles Blain, the president of the Urban Reform Institute, tabbed The Woodlands as one of The Next Great American Cities, even though it’s not technically a city and is now just days away from turning 49 years old. Oil entrepreneur and philanthropist George Mitchell founded The Woodlands in 1974 with the dream of creating a community that had it all, one where nature was treasured and the forest environment stayed alive.
Driving through it today, you can see that vision still going strong with the trees still a dominant feature, with store, restaurant and business signs restricted from the blaring lighting you’ll find in so many other areas. These days, more than 120,000 people and 2,400 businesses — from Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops — call The Woodlands home. So do 151 neighborhood parks.
This is a pioneering place that deserves a major anniversary celebration.
Woodlands 50th Anniversary Events Beckon
The Woodlands’ 50th anniversary will be celebrated with many events in the coming year, including that grand celebration on October 19, 2024 – exactly 50 years to the date of the community’s official opening.
There will also be an extravagant gala on October 5, 2024 at The Woodlands Resort, a fitting venue which is celebrating its 50th year in The Woodlands.
Along the way, each month will highlight a new theme that represents an important aspect of life in The Woodlands.
This first month of October will highlight the overall history, vision and master planning that help make the community so special. November will be all about giving thanks — with charities like Interfaith given the spotlight.
The Woodlands’ Anniversary Hub
You can head to The Woodlands.com for all things 50th anniversary. New content on the 50th anniversary will be regularly published, including stories, articles, blogs and a full events calendar with themes connected to the community.
A photo book featuring a collection of residents of The Woodlands’ photographs also will be published next year. Residents are encouraged to submit their original photographs for inclusion on the website. Photos will be collected through May 31, 2024.
You can also shop for special 50 anniversary merchandise, with t-shirts, caps and long-sleeved tops featuring the 50th logo available to purchase online, or in person at Interfaith of The Woodlands, which is located at 4242 Interfaith Way in Spring, Proceeds from the anniversary merchandise will benefit Interfaith, the longest operating nonprofit in the township.
You can also sign up for the The Woodlands e-newsletter or follow The Woodlands on Facebook, Instagram and X. Of course, PaperCity The Woodlands will be extensively covering all the Woodlands 50th anniversary happenings as well.
It’s been a golden 50 years for The Woodlands — and the best is yet to come.