Spring Branch began as a religious German farmer settlement; many of the farmers owned dairies. Karl Kolbe, who arrived in Texas from Germany in 1830, was Spring Branch's earliest settler. The Germans opened sawmills to cut area timber. In 1848, St. Peter's United (Lutheran) Church opened on a site donated from the Bauer family; the lumber used in the construction originated from one of the local sawmills. The Spring Branch School Society, sponsored by the church in 1856, eventually became the Spring Branch Independent School District.
Yellow fever outbreaks in 1859 and 1867 killed many residents.
The early settlers all had roads named after their families – Gessner, Conrad Sauer, Witte, Wirt, Blalock, Campbell, Hillendahl, Bauer, Fries, and Neuens.
After World War II James E. Lyon served as a developer in Spring Branch.
The eastern part of Spring Branch was annexed by the City of Houston in the 1940s while the western part was annexed in the 1950s. In the mid-1950s, efforts to create a Spring Branch municipality failed. Following this, the Memorial villages, a group of six independent municipalities, formed. Houston annexed the rest of the Spring Branch area. In the mid-to-late 20th century, Spring Branch had a rural suburban character with dirt roads and horses in the area. Spring Branch Elementary School, one of several area elementary schools, was an all-White elementary school.
Apartment complexes opened in the Spring Branch area around the 1970s. In 1982, the City of Houston Housing Authority proposed a $3.8 million U.S. dollar public housing unit at Emnora Lane. The city encountered strong opposition from civic clubs, city council members, and state representatives, so the city housing officials canceled the project. The sign used by the city to indicate the proposed site repeatedly received spray paint graffiti stating "no niggers."
By the 1980s, Houston's economy had collapsed and occupancy rates declined. Many apartment complexes faced foreclosure, bankruptcy, and changes in ownership. Bill Zermeno, a city electrical inspector, said in a 1988 Houston Chronicle article that many of the apartments with some of the strongest violations against maintenance-related city laws were in Spring Branch. Kim Cobb, the author of the 1988 Houston Chronicle article, said that many of the poorly maintained complexes were located next to well-maintained single family subdivisions.
From the 1980 U.S. Census to the 1990 Census, many Hispanics settled in parts of Spring Branch; in pockets of Spring Branch almost all of the immigration was from Central American countries. The Hispanic population increased by an amount between 1,000 and 3,500 per square mile. In 1997 S.D. Kim, the Houston bureau chief of The Korea Times, said that Koreatown, the Korean community in Spring Branch, grew because of inexpensive housing and the zoning to the Spring Branch Independent School District. In 1998 and again in 2001, a proposal to place Korean language street signs in Koreatown lead to political controversy; the reaction against the proposal lead to the withdrawal of the proposal. By 2006, Spring Branch Elementary School was mostly Hispanic, reflecting demographic changes in the Spring Branch area. By 2007 several older houses were torn down and replaced with newer houses; new homeowners came to Spring Branch to buy larger lots, to buy in an area cheaper than neighborhoods bordering Downtown Houston. New residents came due to the proximity to Downtown, Uptown, and the Energy Corridor.
Wikipedia: [Spring Branch, Houston TX 77080]