One of the original residents of The Woodlands, Bob Hibbetts, celebrates 45 years with The Woodlands Development Company

Jun 17 at 4:12pm

One of the original residents of The Woodlands, Bob Hibbetts, celebrates 45 years with The Woodlands Development Company

by Lorrie Parise

On May 17, 1971, Bob Hibbetts, a graduate fresh out of the University of Texas, went to work as an entry-level accountant for George Mitchell, the founder of The Woodlands. His legacy with The Woodlands Development Company – then called GMA, Inc. – began that day.

In 1974, Hibbetts moved to The Woodlands to help set up the master planned community’s first water district. He was one of the first few people to live in the area, alongside Scott Mitchell, architect and son of George Mitchell. Both men moved into the Settler’s Corner Townhomes, which now overlook the Tournament Golf Course in the Village of Grogan’s Mill.

"When I moved into Settler’s Corner, Woodlands Parkway and Grogan’s Mill Road weren’t even paved,” Hibbetts says. "We had to cut through a gated logging road to get to the townhomes. That logging road is now where the Tournament Golf Course is located.”

According to Hibbetts, in 1971, the gated entrance into The Woodlands was next to Lamar Elementary, and the old logging road leading to the Settler’s Corner Townhomes went by a Grogan Cochran mill pond, now located in Tamarac Park, one of the oldest parks in the community. 

In addition to the water district, Bob also helped start the first volunteer fire department in The Woodlands.

"A gentleman by the name of George Robertson and I drove a yellow fire truck from Elmira, New York to The Woodlands for the Grand Opening Ceremony on October 19, 1974.”

Hibbetts remembers some of The Woodlands’ first landmarks, including The Woodlands Inn and Conference Center, now The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, a few production model homes, large custom homes off North Millbend Drive, and The Woodlands Athletic Center. At the time, everything was located in the community’s first village, Grogan’s Mill.

Over his 45-year tenure, Hibbetts has watched The Woodlands grow exponentially.  

"I remember when The Woodlands Mall was anticipated to open for years and finally did so in 1994,” Hibbetts says. "In the early 2000s, The Woodlands Waterway® and Waterway Square® opened in Town Center. There were always visions of the Town Center expanding, but it was hard to imagine until the actual day came along. Another exciting opening was Hughes Landing in 2013, which offers a little bit of everything. There’s multifamily living, retail, office space and even a hotel on Lake Woodlands. It’s amazing.”

Today, Bob Hibbetts is The Woodlands Development Company's longest-serving employee. 

Topics

Employees, Residents
Bob (right) with his wife and their five grandchildren Bob (right) with his wife and their five grandchildren

"When I moved into Settler’s Corner, Woodlands Parkway and Grogan’s Mill Road weren’t even paved." -Bob Hibbetts

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