O'Henry Hall

Historic Site
2stars (2.00)1
601 Colorado Street

O'Henry Hall was constructed between 1878 and 1881, built to serve as both a Federal Courthouse and Post Office for the growing needs of the City of Austin. It served as the first permanent home of the postal system in Austin. Prior to settling down at this location the post office rented space in office buildings. Indicative of the building's intended symbolism, the total cost of the structure when complete came to $225,000, not an insignificant sum in those days.

O'Henry Hall is so named due to the fact that William Sydney Porter, a short story writer better known as O'Henry, was tried and convicted in this building for bank embezzlement in February of 1898. Porter had held a job as bank teller at Austin's First National Bank, but did so a number of years prior to charges being brought against him. For this crime Porter spent three years in jail, but there is ample doubt concerning his actual guilt.

The post office eventually moved across the street to larger accommodations at 210 W 6th Street. The building continued to be used by the judiciary and other federal agencies until 1968. The government deeded the property to the University of Texas, who renovated it in 1971. Renamed O'Henry Hall at that time, The University of Texas System uses the building and the other old post office building at 210 W 6th for administrative space.

Austin - The Past Still Present
Austin: An Illustrated History
Austin Treasures - Government Services

O'Henry Hall
O'Henry Hall sits at the NW corner of 6th and Colorado Street. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
West Side
The west-side of the building contains the main entrance. Across the street is a small water fountain square. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
South Side
The south-facing facade features deep porches with supporting arched columns. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Recommended Item
Recommended Item Austin Then and Now
William Dylan Powell
List Price: $22.95 Your price: $21.80 Buy Now
Extensively revised, redesigned, Austin Then and Now® puts archive and contemporary photographs of the same landmark side-by-side to showcase the city's pastAustin is known for its impressive streets and period architecture, particularly the imposing State Capitol and the view down Congress Avenue. It offers a blend of outstanding natural attractions including Barton Springs and Town Lake, as well as international venues such as the stunning new Circuit of the Americas, the home of the U.S. Grand Prix. From its beginnings as a sleepy village to its current position as the Texas state capital, Austin has witnessed incredible growth. This captivating chronicle of a fascinating city matches historic images with specially commissioned views of the same scenes as they appear today. Locations include Driskill Hotel, Sixth Street, O. Henry Museum, Pierre Bremond House, Paramount Theatre, Millet Opera House, Texas Capitol, St. Mary's Cathedral, Lundberg Bakery, Old Travis County Courthouse, Governor's Mansion, Old Land Office, Moonlight Towers, Custer House, University of Texas Tower, Pemberton Heights, Texas State Hospital, Barton Springs, and Circuit of the Americas.