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Brush Square (O. Henry Museum)

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

409 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78701, USA

Opening Hours

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Although Brush Square is right in the heart of downtown Austin, many visitors miss out on the fascinating O. Henry Museum located on its grounds; a tranquil spot dedicated to the famous short story writer. Drop by on a Wednesday for a free guided tour and a deeper insight into O. Henry's life and Austin's history."

What is Brush Square?

Brush Square is one of the most tranquil spots nestled right in the heart of Austin's bustling downtown area. This urban green space is more than just a park; it's a hub of history and culture, providing a peaceful retreat amid the city's skyscrapers. Known for its towering shade trees and lovely walking paths, it's a popular spot for office workers, tourists, and locals alike to take a momentary break from the pace of city life.

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But Brush Square isn't just about relaxation and respite; it also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from community gatherings to cultural festivals, making it an integral part of Austin’s social tapestry. Furthermore, the square holds significant historical importance with on-site museums dedicated to some of Austin's most notable historical figures.

History of Brush Square

Brush Square has a rich background that dates back to the early foundations of Austin. It's one of the original public squares laid out in Edwin Waller's 1839 plan for the city. Named after early Texas pioneer William Brush, the square has evolved considerably over the decades, mirroring the growth and changes of Austin itself. There's a profound sense of time encapsulated within its borders, something I always feel when I walk along its paths.

In its earliest days, Brush Square was used for public meetings and religious gatherings. As the city grew, so did the purpose of the square. By the late 19th century, it became a residential area peppered with Victorian homes. Fast forward to the 20th century, and those homes made way for the development of the modern cityscape. Despite all these changes, Brush Square has retained its place as a community cornerstone in downtown Austin.

Why is Brush Square Important?

Brush Square's importance lies not only in its longevity and adaptive reuse but also in its role as a keeper of history. Here, you'll find the O. Henry Museum, dedicated to the master short-story writer O. Henry, who lived in Austin for a time. The museum is actually his former residence and offers a unique window into his life and the Austin he knew. Imagine sitting at his writing desk, pondering over the very stories that would become American classics.

Across the square is the Susanna Dickinson Museum, which honors the survivor of the Alamo and tells the tale of her remarkable life. These institutions offer an intimate look at Austin's past and celebrate individuals whose impacts have been felt far beyond the city's boundaries. This connection to local and national history is why Brush Square is a beloved landmark, fostering a deep appreciation for the city's heritage among its visitors.

Things to Do & See at Brush Square

When you visit Brush Square, there's a blend of activities to engage in. Start with a leisurely stroll around the well-maintained grounds, perfect for clearing your mind or enjoying lunch on a sunny day. Can you imagine the countless footsteps that have passed here through time? It's quite a feeling to walk in the same space where Austin's early residents congregated.

For those interested in history and literature, a tour of the O. Henry Museum is a must. They say his spirit of wit and irony still lingers within those walls. And for a touch of Texan history, the Susanna Dickinson Museum is a short walk across the green. Here, you can delve into the personal narrative of an Alamo hero through artifacts and storytelling.

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Furthermore, if your timing is right, you may catch one of the various events and festivals held at Brush Square throughout the year. They range from outdoor concerts to food festivals, offering a glimpse into Austin's vibrant community life. And let’s not forget the Firefighter’s Memorial and the Austin Visitor Center, also located on the square, offering further insight into the city’s storied past and present.


Frequently asked questions

What is Brush Square in Austin?

Brush Square is a historic square located in downtown Austin, Texas. It is one of the original public squares plotted by Edwin Waller in 1839. The square is known for housing the O. Henry Museum, the Susanna Dickinson Museum, and the Austin Fire Museum.


What can visitors do at Brush Square?

Visitors at Brush Square can explore the history and legacy of writer O. Henry at the O. Henry Museum, learn about the survivor of the Alamo, Susanna Dickinson, at her namesake museum, and discover the history of Austin's fire department at the Austin Fire Museum.


What are the opening hours of the museums in Brush Square?

The opening hours for the museums in Brush Square can vary; however, typical hours are from Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. It is always best to check the latest information on their respective websites or by calling ahead.


Are there any special events at Brush Square?

Brush Square often hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as the O. Henry Pun-Off, museum exhibitions, and cultural events that celebrate the history of Austin. Details about upcoming events can usually be found on the museums' websites or the City of Austin's event calendar.


Is there an entry fee for the museums at Brush Square?

The O. Henry and Susanna Dickinson Museums typically offer free admission, though donations are welcomed. For the Austin Fire Museum, check the latest visitor information as operational hours and admission fees may change.


Attractions Details

📌 Address

409 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78701, USA

Opening Hours

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps