A rolling stone gathers no moss. William Sydney Porter gathered no moss from idleness. He seems to have rolled from one mode in life, one trade, one phase of life to the next. I stood at one of those moments in his Austin Texas home in which he lived while publishing his weekly paper, The Rolling Stone, from 1894-1895.
Mostly known for his witty short stories, Porter (later pen named O Henry) started in Austin with his weekly paper.
Porter left the East Coast and headed west to Texas. In Austin he was a pharmacist, bookkeeper, land grant clerk, quartet singer, cartoonist, map maker, landscape illustrator, and bank teller.
The O Henry House, on East 5th, is open for public tours where visitors, literary pilgrims and the like, can see samples of his weekly paper, maps, and cartoon sketches. Best of all… the writing desk. I mean, in regards to a writer, one must see where the art happened! Though it was the paper he published in this house, Porter, the future author of The Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red Chief (personal favorites if you can’t tell), penned at this desk, in this house, in this city. Wow!
Perhaps he walked these creaky wood planks of this very porch while pondering the clever description of a personality or the angle of his next editorial.
When next visiting Austin Texas, drop over to the O Henry house on East 5th. Walk the creaky wood floors, look out the windows, and stand on the porch, like William Sydney Porter did.
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