Julius Kauffman (1856-1935) and Julius Runge (1851-1906), second generation owners of a commission firm established in 1842, had architect Eugene T. Heiner design this renaissance revival building in the north Italian mode. Contractor Robert Palisser completed the structure in 1882. Then known as the world's foremost cotton exporters and the initiators of coffee imports from Brazil, Kauffman-Runge also brought significant numbers of settlers to Texas. They housed commodities on the building's ground floor, and had offices above. Many highly-respected Galveston firms had business quarters here.
In 1905 the property was bought by Maco Stewart (1871-1938), who redesigned the interior to create a gallery effect with an arched skylight on the top floor. A foresighted, dynamic lawyer, Maco Stewart in 1908 founded Stewart Title Guaranty Company, now (1978) the largest title firm in Texas. Throughout expansion across the United States, it continuously had offices in this structure of its origin.
Stewart Title Company has restored the building, replacing the ornate cornice which had been missing since the famous 1900 Galveston storm.