Historic Homes in Austin

Founded in 1839, Austin is rich in history. The capital city of Texas has a lot to offer when it comes to taking a look back into the past. One of the best ways to do this is by checking out some of the historic houses around the city.

Texas Governor's Mansion

The Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas, is the official residence of the Governor of Texas. This mansion, erected in 1854, has served as the residence of every governor since that year.

The mansion was severely damaged after a Molotov cocktail sparked an arson fire on June 8, 2008.

In 1856, Abner Cook finished this Greek Revival structure in the middle of a block, surrounded by trees and gardens. A 6,000-square-foot home once stood here. During the year 1914, it had significant renovations, increasing its size to 8,920 square feet. There were eleven rooms in the original mansion, but there were no bathrooms. After the renovations, there are now 25 rooms and 7 bathrooms in the house. The Board of Mansion Supervisors was founded in 1931 by the 42nd Texas Legislature on the advice of former Texas First Lady Mildred Paxton Moody to oversee all mansion maintenance and improvements, both inside and outside.

The Fischer House

The Fischer House was built in 1882 and is a historic home in the heart of downtown Austin. As a notable Austin mason at the time of construction, Joseph Fischer's high Victorian era Italianate architecture and embellishments represent the family's expertise in their trade.

1008 West Avenue is the address of the property. On December 16, 1982, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Robinson-Macken House

In west downtown Austin, at 702 Rio Grande, you'll find the Robinson-Macken House, an incredible historic landmark.

Designed in Second Empire style architecture with Italianate details, this 2.5 story farm home was built in 1876 for Elizabeth and John Robinson Sr.

The mansion, built by the local prominent Bremond family, is located in the original 1839 Austin town plan created by Edwin Waller. Style-wise, it resembles the Bremond home, which has been conserved as part of the Bremond Block Historic District. Eugene Robinson, a Robinson descendant, bought the property from the other heirs in 1902. In 1928, Joe and Bridget Macken purchased the house, and it stayed in their family until 1983. Austin had two community leaders: John Robinson, who served as chief of the volunteer fire department, and Joe Macken, who served as an alderman. In addition to projecting bay windows with classical details, exquisite milled wood accents, and dormer windows, the l-plan Robinson-Macken house also has a mansard roof.

John Bremond House

Austin's Bremond Block Historic District consists of eleven historic homes built between the 1850s and 1910, including The John Bremond House.

Only a few upper-class Victorian districts from the mid-to-late nineteenth century are left in Texas, this block being one of them, earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Brothers Eugene and John Bremond, well-known in Austin's social, commercial, and banking circles in the late nineteenth century, commissioned the construction or expansion of six residences for their families. All four of these buildings are in the same square block on the west side of Guadalupe Street. At least three of the residences in the neighborhood, including those on San Antonio's west and south sides, were built or altered by the North Family.

Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage

In Austin's historic district, the Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage were formerly home to the influential Hirshfeld family. Henry and his wife Jennie lived in the 1873 cottage until 1885 when they moved into the larger house. The residences have been well-preserved and are now home to the Texas A&M University System's Office of Governmental Relations. The structures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Architecturally, the Henry Hirshfeld House combines elements of Victorian and Eastlake styles. It was designed and built by John Andrewartha. A double gallery, a bay, stretched glass, elegant woodwork, and delicate limestone details adorn the exterior of the building. Shortly after the main house was finished, the two-story stick-style carriage house went up on the property.

In 1873, Hirshfeld commissioned the construction of a one-story stone cottage for his family. The porch has jigsaw woodwork, and the roof has a widow's walk. A rental cottage was kept as soon as the family relocated to their new home in 1888 on the neighboring east lot.

O. Henry Museum

When William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, lived here, this property was a historic tiny Victorian cottage in Downtown Austin. The cottage was constructed in 1886 and featured a simplified interpretation of the Eastlake Style. Porter and his family lived there from 1893 to 1895 before moving to Houston, when Porter began working full-time as a journalist for the Houston Post. Even though O. Henry was most known for novels that were written in North Carolina, he also wrote 42 stories that were published in the Lone Star State.

Before 1930, the house had been used as a rental property and soon demolished to make way for a warehouse. Several women's organizations banded together in January 1934 to propose to the Austin City Council: If the city accepted and relocated the house as a donation from Austin Rotary, the women's organizations would restore it and open it as a "shrine." The proposal was rejected, but a few years later, the Austin Rotary Club donated the house to the city.

It was transferred from its original location on East 4th Street to Brush Square, 409 East 5th Street, where it was repaired and inaugurated as a museum in 1934, thanks to the efforts of the City of Austin. Some of Porter's personal things, books, papers, and photographs document his time in Austin and are currently displayed among many other historical artifacts. In 1994–95, the roof was replaced, and four brick chimneys that had been lost in 1934 were replaced on the building.

On June 18, 1973, the Porter House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The O. Henry Museum presently hosts the annual O. Henry Pun-Off, a spoken pun competition, the first weekend of May every year. The museum was named after American author O. Henry.

Susanna Dickinson Museum

Historical monument and last remaining dwelling of Susanna Dickinson, dubbed "Messenger of the Alamo" and built in the "rubble-rock" architectural style popularized by German immigrants to Texas' Hill Country. After surviving the Alamo's bloody battle, she delivered to Sam Houston the news of its collapse, which helped Houston beat Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto and secure Texas' independence.

Susanna's husband, Joseph Hannig, built the house in 1869. In honor of Susanna Dickinson Hannig's heroics, the place she and her husband built in Austin in the early 1900s was deeded to the city in 2003 and has since been restored and opened as a museum on Texas Independence Day, March 2, 2010.

Rare Dickinson family heirlooms and Hannig furniture can be found inside the museum. Before 1875, the couple had lived in this residence for six years before relocating to Hyde Park.

Brush Square Museums, including the O. Henry Museum and the Austin Fire Museum, houses the museum. There is a magnificent museum on the Alamo grounds where you may be shown around and hear from the brave Alamo soldiers who survived the battle.

Brizendine House

The Brizendine House, built in 1870 in the heart of downtown Austin, is a historic landmark. An extension to the Travis County Courthouse and the Blackwell/Thurman Criminal Justice Center now surround the structure on 11th Street in Austin. In 1974, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This basic vernacular rough ashlar house illustrates the way of life of an Austin working-class family in the late nineteenth century. The building's exterior proportions are clearly influenced by Victorian architecture. An Austin carpenter, machinist, and miller named John R. Brizendine (1829–1914) used limestone to construct the structure around 1870. Brizendine was a native of Kentucky who settled in Austin and worked on the building until his death. Family members stayed in the house until 1972 after Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon bought it in 1928.

Littlefield House

There's a lot of history behind this house on the UT Austin campus. It was erected in 1893 for Civil War veteran and philanthropist George Littlefield. It cost $50,000 at the time to create it in the fashionable Victorian style.

When the Littlefields lived in the house, they donated a lot of money to the university, which they used to build the Littlefield Fountain, the Main Building, and the Littlefield Dormitory, among other things. The Littlefield Building in downtown was created by them as well, and they completed it in 1912.

Alice Littlefield left the deed to the house to the university when she died in 1935. The university uses the ground floor for university functions, and the Office of University Events utilizes the second floor.

In 1970, it was included on the National Register of Historic Places as a result of its historical significance.

Dive Deeper

In this post, we only touched the surface of the history behind the roots of Austin. Many of these places offer tours and walkthroughs where you can dive deeper into the history!

Post a Comment