The commercial house of William Hendley & Co. was established in 1845 by William Hendley (1798-1873), his brother Joseph J. Hendley (d. 1887), John L. Sleight (1810-73), and Phillip Gildersleeve (1819-53). At the same time, they started the Texas and New York Packet Line with the firm of Brower and Neilson of New York, using a fleet of fast sailing ships. As brigs were withdrawn, the Hendleys and J.H. Brower built more suitable vessels of greater capacity and lighter draft. The firm spent $320,100 in just over ten years to lead in the growth of Galveston's maritime commerce. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1981
The company had this three-story Greek revival commercial row built in 1855-58. It is comprised of four buildings, originally similar on the interior. Separated by fire walls, they share a uniform brick facade. The columns, cornices, and ornamentation are made of granite.
The row's cupola, since removed, served as a lookout post for both Confederate and Federal forces during the Civil War. After the war, Hendley's mercantile firm returned to the block. The row later housed offices of the First National Bank of Galveston, Col. William Moody, the U. S. Corps of Engineers, the retail firm of Greenleve, Block & Co., and other businesses.