Henry Hirshfeld House and Cottage

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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 are located at 303 and 305 W. 9th Street. The buildings were added together to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Texas Historical Commission Marker Text

Hirshfeld House
Henry Hirshfeld (1834”“1911), a native of Germany, was a prominent Austin merchant and a leader in the city's Jewish community. In 1873 he and his wife Jennie (Melasky) built a one-story limestone cottage on the lot west of this site. Because of their financial success and a growing family, they later made plans for a larger home here. Construction of this two-story brick and cut stone house began in 1885 and the family moved in a year after completion. Designed and built by architect John Andrewartha, it 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. The Hirshfelds had eight children. Two of their son's Jake and Sam, also became merchants and opened separate clothing stores. Jake and his brother Morris served as directors of the Austin National Bank, an institution their father helped establish in 1890. Family members continued to reside here until the death of the Hirshfelds' daughter Leila Hirshfeld Bernheim in 1973. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1962

Hirshfeld Cottage
German native Henry Hirshfeld (1834”“1911) migrated to the United States at the age of fifteen. After working with his two uncles in Mobile, Alabama, he moved to Georgetown (28 mi. N), where he enlisted in the Confederate Army. Following his service in the Civil War, Hirshfeld moved to Austin and entered the mercantile business. By 1868, when he married Jennie Melasky, he owned a clothing store and was becoming a prominent businessman of the city. Three years later Governor E. J. Davis appointed him as the first vice president of the newly created State Board of Trade. Active in civic development, Hirshfeld was also an early leader of Austin's Jewish community. He was a founder and the first president of Congregation Beth Israel, established in 1876 on the second floor of his Congress Avenue building. Hirshfeld had this one-story stone cottage built for his family in 1873. Construction by Ed Christian, Ferdinand Dohme,and S. Loomis. 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. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1962


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