Alexander D. Hensley (1859-1947) purchased land at this site in January 1898. With his wife Maggie (1875-1960), he asked his brother, architect Henry Hensley, to design this house to catch breezes from any direction.
Built in 1905 by the Alamo Lumber Company, the house is a fine local example of a Victorian-era residence, with stylistic influences of the Queen Anne period. It features a distinctive octagonal plan, with porches providing additional spaces to complete the octagon. Because of its unusual floor plan, the house's central living room contains eight doors but no windows; four of the doors open onto the corner porches. Prominent features include a cross-gable roof with wood shingled gable ends, and decorative wood brackets at cutaway corners above corner windows. The original wooden porch floors were replaced with concrete in the 1930s, but the decorative wood columns and doors remain.
Retail salesman James Robert Gusman (1862-1944), his wife Bettie Amanda Harrington (1864-1948) and their children moved to Bay City from Weimar in 1911. They bought the house from the Hensley's in 1919, and it remained in their family for generations.