Ima Hogg was the daughter of Gov. Jim Hogg, a man who obviously had a cruel sense of humor. Miss Hogg, however, did not grow up shy and self-effacing. Long after the governor was dead, she was a power to be reckoned with in local affairs and did much to keep the chicanery in city hall to a minimum. Her mansion, Bayou Bend, was built in the 1920s by Houston's most prominent architect, John F. Staub. It holds in its 28 rooms a treasure-trove of American furniture, paintings, and decorative objects dating from Colonial times to about 1870, and is set amid 14 acres of beautifully tended gardens in a variety of styles. This is a must-see for antiques collectors and gardeners.
Part of the Museum of Fine Arts, the collection can be seen by self-guided audio tour or by guided tour, for which you must make reservations. The guided tour is preferable. It takes 90 minutes and costs the same as the audio tour. Guided tours leave every 15 minutes. You can see the gardens on your own. Bayou Bend is on the backside of River Oaks, but is unapproachable from the main entrance to the neighborhood. The only way to get there is to go down Memorial Drive, which follows the north shore of Buffalo Bayou, and then turn left onto Westcott to enter the grounds.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010