Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee!

Downtown Historic Houses Walking Tour (Self Guided), Austin

Northwest downtown Austin boasts an impressive collection of historic residences of notable styles, ranging from classic Victorian to Georgian to Greek Revival. Carefully preserved and restored, these buildings form a major part of the city's cultural heritage. Take this self-guided tour for a quiet, much more peaceful stroll, as compared to that on the crowded Congress Avenue, for example, and explore a number of historically important houses and mansions of Austin.
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Downtown Historic Houses Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Downtown Historic Houses Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Austin (See other walking tours in Austin)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: christine
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Texas Governor's Mansion
  • Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage
  • John Bremond House
  • Robinson-Macken House
  • Fischer House
  • Brizendine House
1
Texas Governor's Mansion

1) Texas Governor's Mansion

The Texas Governor's Mansion, also known simply as Governor's Mansion, is a historic home for the Governor of Texas in downtown Austin. It was built during 1854 and has been the home of every governor since 1856.

On June 8, 2008, while midway through a major renovation, the mansion was damaged badly by an arson fire started with a Molotov cocktail.

Built by Abner Cook in a Greek Revival style and completed during 1856, the building occupies the center of a block and is surrounded by trees and gardens. The original mansion was 6,000 square feet (560 m2). Remodeling during 1914 increased the size of it to 8,920 square feet (829 m2). The original mansion had 11 rooms but no bathrooms. The remodeling brought the room count to 25 rooms and 7 bathrooms. In 1931, at the recommendation of former Texas First Lady Mildred Paxton Moody, the 42nd Texas Legislature established the Board of Mansion Supervisors to oversee all interior and exterior upkeep and enhancements to the mansion.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage

2) Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage

The Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage are two historic homes in downtown Austin, Texas originally inhabited by the prominent Hirshfeld family. The cottage, built in 1873, housed Henry and his wife Jennie until the larger house was built in 1885. The homes have been well-preserved and today house the Office of Governmental Relations for the Texas A&M University System. The buildings were added together to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Designed and built by architect John Andrewartha, Henry Hirshfeld House features characteristics of Victorian and Eastlake styling. Exterior ornamentation includes a double gallery, a bay, strained glass, ornate woodwork, and intricate limestone detailing. The two-story stick style carriage house was built soon after completion of the main residence.

Hirshfeld had one-story stone cottage built for his family in 1873. It features a widow's walk on the roof and jigsaw detailing on the porch. After the family moved to their new residence on the adjacent east lot in 1888, the cottage was maintained as rental property.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
John Bremond House

3) John Bremond House

The John Bremond House is part of Bremond Block Historic District - a collection of eleven historic homes in downtown Austin, constructed from the 1850s to 1910.

The block was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and is considered one of the few remaining upper-class Victorian neighborhoods of the middle to late nineteenth century in Texas. Six of these houses were built or expanded for members of the families of brothers Eugene and John Bremond, who were prominent in late-nineteenth-century Austin social, merchandising, and banking circles. They are located within the square block bordered by West Seventh, West Eighth, Guadalupe, and San Antonio streets. The district also includes several houses on the west side of San Antonio and the south side of West Seventh, at least three of which were built or altered by the North family.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Robinson-Macken House

4) Robinson-Macken House

The Robinson-Macken House is a historic home in west downtown Austin, located at 702 Rio Grande.

Built in 1876 for the family of Elizabeth and John Robinson Sr., this two-and-half-story farm house is a fine example of the Second Empire style of architecture coupled with Italianate detailing.

Located within the original 1839 Austin town plan drawn by Edwin Waller, it is in close proximity to the house built by the locally prominent Bremond family. It shares stylistic similarities with the Bremond house, now preserved as the Bremond Block Historic District. The Robinson's son, Eugene, purchased the house from the other Robinson heirs in 1902. The house was then bought in 1928 by Joe and Bridget Macken, in whose family it remained until 1983. Both John Robinson and Joe Macken were Austin community leaders, serving at different times as chief of the volunteer fire department and city alderman. Prominent features of the l-plan Robinson-Macken house include projecting bay windows with classical detailing, fine milled wood elements, dormer windows, and a mansard roof.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Fischer House

5) Fischer House

The Fischer House is a historic mansion in downtown Austin, completed in 1882. Its builder, Joseph Fischer, was a prominent mason in Austin at the time, and its bold high Victorian era, Italianate architecture and ornamentation reflect his family's skill in the trade.

The home is located at 1008 West Avenue. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 16, 1982.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Brizendine House

6) Brizendine House

The Brizendine House is a historic home in downtown Austin, constructed circa 1870. The building is located on 11th Street and is today surrounded by an annex to the Travis County Courthouse and the Blackwell/Thurman Criminal Justice Center. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

This simple vernacular rough ashlar house represents the life style of the late 19th century working middle class family in Austin. The exterior proportions of the structure reflect Victorian influence. It was built of limestone about 1870 by John R. Brizendine (1829–1914), an Austin carpenter, machinist and miller, a native of Kentucky, who lived here until his death. Mrs. Elizabeth Gordon bought the home in 1928, and members of her family lived here until 1972.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Austin, Texas

Create Your Own Walk in Austin

Create Your Own Walk in Austin

Creating your own self-guided walk in Austin is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Famous Architecture Walking Tour

Famous Architecture Walking Tour

A pleasant walk through the heart of downtown Austin is a good chance to delve into the city's backstory and check out some of the most iconic buildings that have stood the test of time and allow visitors to know that they are, indeed, in Austin, Texas. Follow this self-guided walk to step back and appreciate some of the longest standing landmarks that make up the Austin skyline, including...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Top Religious Buildings

Top Religious Buildings

Downtown Austin contains many places of worship. Numerous communities from all over the world are responsible for the variety of Austin’s beautiful churches and cathedrals. These magnificent edifices are notable for their wonderful architecture and rich history.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Congress Avenue Walking Tour

Congress Avenue Walking Tour

Congress Avenue is the main street in Austin and historically the first one. Since the city's establishment, the street has evolved, and now bears the mark of Austin’s historical and cultural development from the 19th century to today. From the State Capitol grounds to Lady Bird Lake, modern skyscrapers stand next to the old two- and three story buildings, making for an interesting...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Austin Street Art Walk

Austin Street Art Walk

Austin, Texas may be famed as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” but its street art is as vibrant, funky and diverse as its plentiful music venues. Texas’s capital is peppered with dozens of murals, sometimes in the most unexpected places, among which are several truly iconic pieces like the Historic 6th Street, “Hi, How Are You?” and Austintatious, that illustrate the quirky side of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Austin Introduction Walk

Austin Introduction Walk

Being the fourth largest city in the State of Texas and its capital, much as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin surprises visitors with its unique artsy community, lively atmosphere seen in Rainey Street, and a wealth of historic and modern architecture – the Texas State Capitol, Norwood Tower, and the Driskill Hotel to mention but a few. The city inhabitants are very laid-back...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles