By 1891 millionaire Oscar Martin Carter and a group of investors established the Omaha and South Texas Land Company. The company purchased 1,756 acres (7.11 km2) of land and established infrastructure, including alleys, parks, schools, streets and utilities, worth $500,000 United States dollars. When Houston Heights was founded, it was a streetcar suburb of Houston which attracted people who did not wish to live in the dense city. It had its own municipality until the City of Houston annexed the Heights in 1919.
After World War II industrial interests moved into the Houston Heights. Marilyn Bardsley of Crime Library stated that the Houston Heights became "decrepit" and "tired" after World War II. In the 1970s the Houston Heights was considered to be a low income area of the city. On December 13, 1970 Dean Corll began luring and killing children from the Houston Heights as part of the Houston Child Murders. For most of the period of his crime spree, Corll lived in or close to Houston Heights as his two teenage accomplices resided there. Other teens from the area were targeted simply because the two teens knew many of them which made it easier to entice them to Corll's various residences during the period.
From 1980 to 2017, about 100 houses and other properties in the Heights have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
(South of 610 is the Heights. Houston Heights is a second neighborhood about 5-10 Miles NorthWest of The 610 West Loop)
Since the 1990s, and similar to other parts of Houston inside the 610 Loop, the Heights has experienced gentrification, a process ongoing to this day, as young highly paid professionals (many of whom work in Downtown Houston) have flocked to the area, purchasing and renovating some of the historic homes (and demolishing some of them to build newer, upscale housing). Upscale boutiques and restaurants have opened in the area, giving the streetscape an appearance not too much unlike Bellaire, Lower Westheimer or Upper Kirby.
The 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) Houston Heights Fire Station, a former fire station at 12th Street at Yale Street was constructed as Houston Heights' city hall and jail, and fire station in 1914. After annexation, it served as a city of Houston fire station from 1918 until 1995. The Houston Heights Association took a 30-year lease on the property from the city and refurbished the property. By December 2009 the former city hall was for sale.
A section of the Houston Heights was a "dry" (no sales of alcohol allowed) district from 1912 to 2017.