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Nearly 60 Years of Lake Livingston History

On June 16, 1967 Roy R. Smith, an engineer who worked with the Astrodome and Astroworld

Corporation filed a plan to establish a subdivision called “Idlewilde”.  The present maintenance barn

was moved from the Astroworld location to Idlewilde.  The official name of the developer was Rals

Property, Inc. and/or Roy R. Smith.  At that time the lake was in the planning stages.  Lake Livingston

was filled to the present level in 1970.  Much of the shoreline properties were sold with the anticipation

that the lake would rise to the buyers’ property line. Some properties in Idlewilde were sold under

these conditions. 

     When the TRA (Trinity River Authority) impounded this area in 1969, it created 450 miles of shoreline

and flooded approximately 90,000 acres of hardwood bottom land forming the new lake by damming

of the Trinity River a few miles from Shepherd, Texas.  The lake stretches approximately 55 miles at a

constant level of 131 feet.  The average depth of the lake is 23 feet with a maximum depth of 90 feet. 

     Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and primarily financed by the City of Houston, the lake

currently provides the majority of the water supply for Houston.  The City of Houston and TRA own

the water rights to Lake Livingston, the TRA being the managing entity today.

     The first sale of lots in Idlewilde occurred in 1968, the first home was completed in 1969.  By 1972

ten homes were occupied in Idlewilde.  The highest lot in the subdivision is 169 feet above sea level,

the lowest lot is 131 feet above sea level.

     Allied Bank foreclosed on the original developer and paid 100% of all costs to operate and maintain

the subdivision.  The only expense the residents of Idlewilde paid was for electricity.  Residents received

free water and had either a septic tank or holding tanks.  Allied Bank provided a maintenance man who

cut the grass and did all of the maintenance work in the subdivision.  The Idlewilde Estates Civic

Association was formed in 1979.  The maintenance fee of $15.00 per lot was on a voluntary basis.

     In 1988, in order to cut its losses, Allied Bank established a real estate company in the subdivision and attempted to sell all of the property it owned.  At that time Idlewilde owned a water plant, a low pressure sewerage system and a sewerage treatment plant located on Lake Drive.  After the sale was completed, they auctioned off the remaining 67 lots.  This auction was held in Houston and the lots were offered as a package.  There were three bidders on the property the winning bid was approximately $67,000. Allied Bank turned over the water system to Onalaska Water Corporation and the sewer system was turned over to the Lake Livingston Fresh Water District #2.  The 14 acres at the front of the subdivision, including the pond, house and barn were deeded over to the Civic Association.

     Other important events in the growth of Idlewilde include:  In 1986 the roads were deeded over to the County.  In 1988 a Supplemental Declaration of Covenants was approved and submitted to First Interstate Bank of Texas, a successor to Allied Bank, with new covenants required by the bank.  The Idlewilde Estates Property Owners Association and the Idlewilde Estates Civic Association, Inc. were merged both in boards and treasuries.  In 1989 the house at the entrance of the subdivision, formerly serving as a sales office, was renovated for occupancy for a full-time grounds keeper/maintenance man.  That same year the swimming pool was boarded over and later filled in.  In 1990 cable for television became available.  In 1991 the lights were installed at the entrance of the subdivision.  In 1992 gas lines were installed through out the subdivision.  In 1998 the club house was built within the existing barn.  In 1999 the flag poles at the entrance to the subdivision were installed.

     Idlewilde Estates has two sets of recorded covenants.  The covenants for Idlewilde Estates, Section 1 were filed in 1967 which created Idlewilde Estates Civic Association, Inc.  On June 22, 1982 new covenants and restrictions were filed and all resident owners were asked to submit to the new restrictions.  A majority of the residents complied with this request.  New covenants and restrictions were needed because the original restrictions were short-sighted in providing a vehicle to collect maintenance fees or review controls for architectural guidelines and were inadequate for future growth.


In 2010, a majority of property owners approved the 2010 Restated, Amended and Consolidated Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for Idlewilde Estates Sections One, Two and Four, Polk County, Texas. The three sections of Idlewilde have a total of 311 lots.

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