(top marker)Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964
O. Henry House
Typical of the homes of early German settlers, this two-room dwelling was built by John Kush about 1855. It originally stood on south Presa Street. It was occupied in 1895-96 by William Sidney Porter, who gained national renown as the short story writer O. Henry. Here he issued a weekly humorous newspaper, "The Rolling Stone". In 1960 the structure was moved to this location by the Kush Family and the Lone Star Brewing Company.
The O. Henry House Museum
O.Henry was born at Polecat Creek, North Carolina and moved to Cotulla, Texas in 1883 for health reasons. He then came to San Antonio and rented this house for $6.00 a month. Fascinated by San Antonio's multi-cultural community, O.Henry chronicled the languages and culture of the native populations, spending many happy and productive hours in "cantinas" (saloons) which once stood on this site. O.Henry published a humorous, tabloid newspaper, called The Rolling Stone, which he filled with poems, stories and caricatures of people and races, and for which he was admonished by early German settlers, causing the newspaper to have grave financial problems. San Antonio was the setting of several of O.Henry's stories including A Fog in Santone, The Higher Abdication and Hygeia at the Solito.
Moving to Austin in 1898, O.Henry worked as a teller in a bank to augment his income, at which time he was convicted of embezzlement. He served three years in prison where he wrote prodigiously and memorized every word in the dictionary.
O.Henry was gifted in his ability to capture the essence of a city by understanding the hearts of people in all walks of life. His wit, skill with words, unusual plot twists and surprise endings brought him international fame. He died in New York in 1910.
In 1998, Wallace and Mary Friedrich Rogers regained ownership of her grandfather's old Buckhorn Saloon Museum (which included the historic O.Henry House) from the Lone Star Brewing Company. The Rogers then donated this house as a charitable contribution to the Lee and Zachry Carter Memorial Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.
Chief Probation Officer L. Caesar Garcia of the Bexar County Adult Probation Department is helping his probationers by using O.Henry's life example as a teaching aid. Probationers get credit for doing their Community Service by acting as docents in the O.Henry House. Following O.Henry's example of using his own jail time to sharpen his writing skill, the docents utilize their probation period in a constructive way, perhaps discovering their own latent talents.