The city was developed in 1917 by Ben Hooper, a former Tennessee governor. The name "West University Place" originated from its proximity to Rice Institute, now known as Rice University. The first lots in the community were sold in 1917. Portions of West University were previously within the Harris County Poor farm, which extended from an area between Bellaire Boulevard and Bissonnet Street, eastward to an area near the "poor farm ditch."
In the 1920s, Lillian "Lilly" Nicholson, a Rice University English major, lived with a friend whose father was a city planner. The city planner asked Nicholson and her friend to name the streets of West University Place. Nicholson took names from her English literature book and gave them to the streets in West University Place. As a result, many West University streets are named after authors, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Dryden, and William Shakespeare. Cydney Mackey, a family friend of Nicholson, said in a Houston Chronicle article, "Aunt Lilly had always said she wanted to be an architect, unknown for women in that era, and this was her way of making a small but lasting mark on our city's landscape." One street, Weslayan Road, is a misspelling of "Wesleyan."
The City of West University Place was declared incorporated by the County Judge of Harris County on January 2, 1924. The city incorporated because Houston was reluctant to extend power lines that far from the city center. West University Place, unlike Houston Heights, did not consolidate into the City of Houston. Because of the 1923 incorporation, Houston did not incorporate West University Place's territory into its city limits, while Houston annexed surrounding areas that were unincorporated. In 1939, the municipality refused to consolidate, later adopting a formal city charter the following year. The city had around 15,000 residents in the 1960s and the 1970s. The city had 12,714 people in 1990.
Prior to 1992 West University Place liberalized its development rules. This allowed developers to build new houses within the city. Don Stowers of the Houston Post said that West University Place changed from an "aging middle-class neighborhood" consisting of mid-20th century bungalows and cottages to an increasingly wealthy community of "dare we say, young urban professionals in their austere red-brick Georgians." As new houses appeared, property values increased and the city began to get more tax revenue. Eventually, West University Place ran out of available lots, and its construction peaked. Area home buyers began to consider nearby Bellaire because it had more inexpensive and larger lots, and amenities described by Stowers as "comparable" to West University Place's amenities. In 2011 the group On Numbers ranked West U as the community in the Southern United States with the highest quality of life. it was later ranked number one in a comparison of regional winners. On October 22, 2018 24/7 Wall Street, which collaborates with USA Today, ranked West University Place the "best city to live in".
Wikipedia: [West University Place, TX 77005]