The Neill–Cochran House Museum is a historic two-story Greek Revival home in north-central Austin, Texas built on 17.5 acres for Washington and Mary Hill. It is one of the ten oldest surviving buildings in Austin and the only antebellum home fully open to the public.
Master builder Abner Cook designed and built the house in 1855 as a suburban estate long before the surrounding area was settled. The home features prominent Doric columns and Mr. Cook’s signature “sheaf of wheat” balusters. It shares similar design features with other Cook houses, including the Texas Governor’s Mansion (1856), Westhill (1856), and the James B. Shaw Mansion (1853).
Unfortunately, the Hills never lived in the home. They apparently had some financial trouble and were forced to sell the mansion to a land agent. It was leased to the Texas Asylum for the Blind in 1856, currently known as the Texas Blind Institute, to serve as its first home until Abner Cook finished the school’s campus across town. The house was leased by Lt. Governor Fletcher Stockdale and former Provisional Governor Andrew J. Hamilton. At the end of the Civil War, Federal troops converted the house into a hospital.
In 1876, the house finally became a true family home when Colonel Andrew Neill, a Confederate veteran, purchased the home with his wife Jennie Chapman Neill. After Neill passed, the home was rented to Judge Thomas Beauford Cochran. Cochran purchased the home outright in 1895 to expand and modernize the home for his family.
In 1958, the Cochran family sold the property to The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in The State of Texas. The NSCDA operates the home today as a Texas historic house museum. The Neill–Cochran House Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historical Commission landmark.
Today, the Neill-Cochran House Museum is open to the public for tours in the afternoon. You can also reserve the building as an event venue for weddings, receptions, meetings, workshops, formal dinners, and other special events. Visit Neill-Cochran House Museum’s website for more information.