James Marion West, noted banker, rancher, and businessman, owned around 30,000 acres of land surrounding Middle and Horsepen Bayous (adjacent to present-day Armand Bayou Nature Center). His mansion, designed by Houston architect Joseph Finger, still stands on NASA Rd. 1. By 1940 Humble Oil bought all of the West Ranch and in the early 1960s it created the Friendswood Development Co. which would develop around 15,000 acres of residential neighborhoods and name it Clear Lake City. Almost 1,800 acres of the West land became home to NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (Johnson Space Center).
(UHCL Archives Clear Lake Heritage Society Book Records (#2011-0003), photograph by Bill Odell)