Once Brush Square was a bustling cotton market, but now it's home to the Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig House Museum, the O. Henry House Museum and the Austin Fire Department Museum, located between Trinity and Neches on East Fifth Street. Nestled in the heart of downtown Austin, the museums are tucked behind heritage trees in one of the city’s oldest parks.
O Henry House Museum.
The Joseph and Susanna Dickinson-Hannig Museum's mission is to preserve the home and legacy of Battle of the Alamo survivor Susanna Dickinson and to celebrate Texas’ historical heritage by being an educational resource for the citizens of Austin and its visitors. O. Henry House Museum offers a look into the life of William Sidney Porter in his Austin years leading up to his controversial prison term. After which, he assumed the pen name O. Henry and set about transforming himself into the famed short story writer who authored such universal classics as "Gifts of the Magi," "The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Cop and the Anthem.” In 1932, the house was moved to its current location, before opening as the first city-run museum in 1934. The Austin Fire Department Museum aims to protect and preserve the rich history of the Austin Fire Department and Austin firefighters through public education and artifact preservation. Austin Fire Museum is located within Austin’s Central Fire Station No. 1, built in 1938, and remains the city’s busiest station.
Susanna Dickinson House.
The O. Henry House Museum collections contains personal artifacts, unpublished manuscripts, musical scores, photographs, and furnishings from the Porter family, as well as the beautifully appointed 1880s home. Susanna Dickinson lost everything during the Texas Revolution, including her first husband. Her fifth husband, Joseph Hannig, built her a study rock rubble home in 1869. Today, her home stands as a testament to this tough Texas woman. Featured in the museum is Hannig’s early cabinetry work and Dickinson family heirlooms along with a small research library. You can also access the collections online at: brushsquaremuseums.pastperfectonline.com
If you’re a word play enthusiast, every year Brush Square Museums host The O. Henry Museum’s Pun-Off World Championships the day before Mother’s Day. This pun-tastic event has been going on for more than 40 years. More details available at www.punoff.com
Hours & Admission
Both the O. Henry Museum and the Joseph and Susanna Dickinson-Hannig Museum are open to visitors weekly, Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Austin Fire Department Museum is open by appointment only. Call 512-974-3835 to make an appointment.
Admission for each of the museums are free and metered street parking is available.
Photos and article courtesy of the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department.