After a renovation that extended nearly two years, the O.Henry Museum will re-open Jan. 4, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department announced.
The 19th-century house at 409 East Fifth Street honors the life and literary legacy of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), otherwise known as “O. Henry,” a name he made up to mask his identity while he was serving time in prison for embezzlement. Porter earned wide acclaim for the short stories he wrote in prison including “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief” and “The Cop and the Anthem.”
The museum collects and preserves items related to Porter’s life. He lived in Austin from 1884 to 1894.
The museum has undergone a renovation to upgrade fire suppression systems and HVAC systems. Renovations also included building leveling, a building envelope, roof upgrades and repairs, lead remediation and landscape improvements.
Porter and his family rented the Queen Anne-style cottage from 1893 to 1895. It was originally located one block southwest, at 308 East Fourth Street, in what was considered a middle-class neighborhood. It changed hands over the years and was ultimately donated to the City of Austin. In 1934, the city moved the structure to its current location, where it has operated as the O. Henry Museum ever since. In 1973, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Museum hours are 12 noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is free.
For more information go to austintexas.gov/department/o-henry-museum