O'Henry House

Historic Site
409 E 5th Street

This small Queen Anne cottage serves as the home of the O'Henry Museum, which honors William Sydney Porter, the short story writer better known as O'Henry, who lived in Austin in the second half of the 19th Century. In 1887 O'Henry married Athol Estes, whose family owned the house. It served as the couple's home from 1893 to 1895.

O'Henry published a weekly paper entitled The Rolling Stone for one year before the venture failed in 1895, which precipitated his move to Houston to work for The Houston Post. While in Houston he was convicted of embezzlement, purported to have occurred during his earlier vocation as a bank teller in Austin. Seeking to avoid prison he fled to Honduras. He returned to the United States, and Austin, only when he learned his wife was dying. He eventually served a three-year prison sentence in Ohio, during which time he honed his skills as a writer of the short story.

The house sits at 409 E 5th Street on Brush Square, one of the original park squares laid out in the initial survey of Austin in 1839, but that has not always been the case. The original address of the abode was 308 E 4th Street but was moved, multiple times, until it found a final resting place on 5th Street.

Austin - The Past Still Present

An off-balance view of the O'Henry House and Museum. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A closeup of the front porch. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The back of the house. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
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