Carrington–Covert House

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Carrington-Covert House
Carrington–Covert House
Location Austin, Texas, USA
Coordinates 30°16′40″N 97°44′24″W / 30.27778°N 97.74000°W / 30.27778; -97.74000Coordinates: 30°16′40″N 97°44′24″W / 30.27778°N 97.74000°W / 30.27778; -97.74000
Built 1857
NRHP Reference # 70000765
RTHL # 6423
TSAL # 737
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 25, 1970
Designated RTHL 1972
Designated TSAL 8/18/2000

The Carrington–Covert House is a historic building in downtown Austin, Texas, that serves as headquarters of the Texas Historical Commission. It is one of the few surviving pre-Civil War structures in the city. Construction began in 1855 and was essentially complete when on July 7, 1857, the building contractor, John Brandon, settled his account with the owner, Leonidas Carrington.[1][2] This was fewer than 20 years after Austin was founded.

The building has served many purposes.[3] From 1857 to 1870 it was the residence of Leonidas D. Carrington, his wife née Martha Hickman Hill, and their five children.[4][5] M.L Hemphill bought the property in May 1870. He died five years later; apparently his family continued living there until 1881. John Fields bought the house in 1881, but whether he ever resided there is not known.

John Fields rented the house in 1893 to a charity sponsored an Austin women's group, and from that time until 1898 it served as the "Texas Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital". The clinic operated "on the principle that two-thirds of its patients should be charity cases and the other third paying patients who contributed the funds for keeping the clinic in operation".[5] From 1903 to 1936 the house was the residence of the Covert family, which opened the first car dealership in central Texas in 1909 and in 2014 is still in business in Austin.

The Carrington–Covert House is located at 1511 Colorado Street. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.[citation needed] The Carrington–Covert House was turned over to the Texas Historical Commission to serve as the agency's headquarters in 1971.[6]

Texas Historical Commission marker text[edit]

Leonidas D. Carrington (1816–1897) and his wife, Martha Hill Carrington (1824–1859) 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, 1893–1898, to the "Texas Eyes, Ear, and Throat Hospital," directed by Dr. Henry L. Hilgartner (1868–1937), and in 1903, sold this 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 boarding house, residence, and nursery until it was purchased by the State of Texas in 1968. The Texas Historical Commission restored the house in 1972. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1962[7]



  1. ^ Roberson, Wayne R. (1974). The Carrington–Covert House, Archeological Investigation of a 19th-Century Residence in Austin, Texas. Texas Historical Commission, Office of the State Archeologist Reports, Number 25, p5. 
  2. ^ Carrington, L. D. (1856–1859). Ledger, L. D. Carrington Company, Austin, Texas; January 1856 to January 1859. Austin-Travis County Collection, Austin Public Library. Unpublished bound 700+pp ledger (hand-script entries). 
  3. ^ Roberson, Wayne R. (1974). The Carrington–Covert House, Archeological Investigation of a 19th-Century Residence in Austin, Texas. Texas Historical Commission, Office of the State Archeologist Reports, Number 25, p2. 
  4. ^ Parmelee, Deolece (1968). The Carrington–Covert House in 19th century Austin. Austin, Texas: Unpublished manuscript copy on file, Texas Historical Commission. 
  5. ^ a b Parmelee, Deolece (1971). Memorandum: various ownerships of the Carrington House. Austin, Texas: Unpublished manuscript on file, Texas Historical Commission. 
  6. ^ "A 10K Walk Through German-Texas Heritage in Austin, Texas." The University of Texas at Austin. 3/6. Retrieved on November 15, 2009.
  7. ^ Texas Historical Commission
  8. ^ Additional Photographs from July 1974

External links[edit]