The Hensley Historic District is part of the former estate of Major Samuel J. Hensley (d. 1866) which extended from N. First to Fourth Street and Empire to what became the railroad right-of-way and was subdivided in 1886. The extremely irregularly shaped Hensley City Landmark District (HD89-51) is listed under the theme of Architecture and Shelter for the Horticulture period (1870-1918). The district is bounded for the most part by Second Street on the west, Empire Street on the north, Sixth Street on the east, and Julian Street to the south.
The National Register listed Hensley Historic District consists of 279 properties with 207 contributors. The City Landmark District includes 24 additional properties located at the north and south ends of the National Register District (Winter 2003:103). The mostly single family residences of various architectural styles were built between 1865 and 1930, mostly between 1880 and 1900, with in-fill to 1930. This district has the largest concentration of Victorian-era residences in the City of San José and is notable as a residential district with the most complete concentration of architectural styles popular between 1856 to 1918 in the City. Larger and more elaborate homes are found on N. Third Street with modest workingmen's homes along N. Fifth Street built in Italianate, Stick-Eastlake, and Queen Anne styles. As a listed NRHP property, the district is automatically included on the California Register of Historical Resources (CRHR).