Leonidas D. Carrington (1816-97) and his wife, Martha Hill Carrington (1824-59), came to Austin from Mississippi in 1852. He began to accumulate real estate and on Sept. 15, 1853, bought this block from James M.W. Hall, Austin hotelman, and ten days later opened a mercantile store on Congress Avenue. In 1856 Carrington hired John Brandon, a local architect-contractor, to build on this site a Vernacular Greek Revival home, constructed of rough limestone ashlar. The house was completed in the spring of 1857.
The property was purchased by M.L. Hemphill in 1870 and by the John Fields family in 1881. Fields leased the building, 1893-98, to the "Texas Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital", directed by Dr. Henry L. Hilgartner (1868-1937), and in 1903, sold the site to Frank M. Covert (1865-1938). The head of a prominent Austin family, who lived here until 1936. Later owners rented the structure as a boardinghouse, residence, and nursery until it was purchased by the State of Texas in 1968.
The Texas Historical Commission restored the house in 1972.