The fashionable West End, the post–Civil War residential area of Brownsville, attracted prominent people like Mifflin Kenedy, Richard King, José Celaya, and José Fernández. More Anglo-American than Hispanic, the West End is characterized by detached dwellings set back from the street with front yards. Victorian-era styles endured at the West End, both as a result of regional isolation and, later, as a reaction by established families to the Spanish Mediterranean influence paraded by outsiders. Today, its core at St. Charles Street remains a well-maintained residential enclave.
The 600 block collects three distinctly Anglo-American residences. The Russell-Cocke House (c. 1872) at number 602 and the Martin Hanson House (1868) at number 647 stand as five-bay, central-hall, side-gabled cottages with full front porches. The Russell-Cocke House is distinguished by its overscaled central dormer, while the Hanson House recalls the domestic architecture of New Orleans, where Norwegian-born Hanson was a builder prior to his move to Matamoros.
The Samuel W. Brooks House (1888) at number 623 belonged to local builder Brooks, who also came to Brownsville by way of Matamoros and was Hanson's competitor. His arrival in 1878 attests to the growing ascendancy of Brownsville over its southern neighbor. Twice moved since 1951, the rehabilitated house derives its character from its central lateral gable and front porch with ornamental woodwork.