Julia C. Hester (1881 – 1940), a teacher, opened her home to neighborhood youth. She and her husband, A.Z. Hester, were leaders in the Fifth Ward community, and although having no children of their own, provided a safe place for all children in the community. Julia C. Hester House was named to honor Mrs. Hester for her contributions and dedication to youth.
In 1941, a bi-racial committee established Hester House as a settlement house promoting the health, education and welfare of the African-American community in Fifth Ward. Upon incorporating with the State of Texas in 1943, the organization was re-named Julia C. Hester House. The Hester House was the first African-American organization to receive financial support from Houston’s Community Chest, which is now known as United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. The Julia C. Hester House was originally to be called the Houston Negro Community Center of the Fifth Ward, but before the doors opened it was renamed after Julia C. Hester, a longtime resident of the ward who spent her life working for the welfare of her community. In 1946 the board of directors began searching for a larger building, and three years later, after a successful fund-raising campaign, Hester House moved from rented facilities on Lyons Avenue to its own $150,000 building on Solo Street. It has occupied this site ever since.
Julia C. Hester House provides services to youth, seniors and families. We also offer physical activities at the state of the art Wellness Center.