Walking Tour of Nacogdoches, Texas
This walking tour begins at the Nacagdoches Railroad Depot and makes a short loop through the downtown with stops at landmarks such as the Blount House and the Sterne-Hoya Museum.
The Nacogdoches Railroad Depot was built by Southern Pacific Railways to replace the original wooden depot and opened on April 3 of 1911. The wooden depot was built in May of 1910 and burned to the ground less than a year later, after it was struck by lightning. The railroad depot is the only surviving passenger station on the old Houston East and West Texas rail line. The first train passed through Nacogdoches in 1883, bringing with it a number of changes. After World War II, cars became more common, indicating a decline in the need for the railroad, and in August of 1954 Southern Pacific terminated passenger services through Nacogdoches. The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Erected in 1897, the Hoya Land Office Building is historically significant for its association with the man for whom it is named, Charles Hoya (1848-1926), and the fact that it has remained largely unchanged. The building is a simple two-story brick structure featuring some decorative brickwork and a wood canopy on the front facade. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and now serves as an attorney's office.
Located behind the historic Central Fire Station (built in 1952), this small museum was created in 1996. Although the museum is not open regular hours, tours are available by appointment while visitors may also walk-in during many downtown events. The museum contains the city's first fire engine, many old tools and fire equipment, historic photos, and fire and rescue memorabilia.
This historical marker commemorates one of the most important events in Nacogdoches' history. On August 2-3, 1832 a fierce battle occurred here that some consider an opening salvo of the Texas Revolution (1835-1836). A Texian militia numbering around 300 men from the surrounding area marched into Nacogdoches on the morning of the 2nd and demanded that the commander of the local Mexican force (around 380 men), José de las Piedras, rescind his order that all citizens in the area give up their arms. Neither side backed down, resulting in a battle that began early on the afternoon of the 2nd and continued until the next day. The militia was victorious; only four Texans were killed while over 40 Mexican soldiers died and 300 were captured. The battle was significant because Mexican troops were never stationed in East Texas again, thus ending the Mexican military rule of the region.
The Sterne-Hoya Museum is a historic house museum and library featuring local historic artifacts donated by the Hoya family, the second family to live here. The house was built in the 1830s by Adolphus Stern, a merchant and prominent leader in the fight for Texas Independence. Notable historical figures associated with the house include Davy Crockett, who was a guest, and Sam Houston, who was baptized in the house. The museum focuses on the history of the Sterne occupancy during the Texas Revolution as well as the Victorian Period of the Hoya family. The house also features a library, one of the earliest wine cellars in the state, and is furnished with period antiques and family heirlooms.
Oak Grove Cemetery, which was first called American Cemetery, is one of the most famous cemeteries in all of Texas. Only measuring two acres, there are a great number of historical figures that have been laid to rest on the grounds. Some gravesite of well known individuals include Thomas Jefferson Rusk, Charles Stanfield Taylor, John S. Robers, and William Clark, Jr., just to name a few. The cemetery also includes graves from the former Spanish cemetery grounds on which the county courthouse is now located.
The Stephen William and Mary Price Blount House is one of the most beautiful homes in Nacogdoches. It was built in 1897 by prominent lawyer and judge William Blount (1845-1928), who also served one term in the state legislature. In terms of architecture, the house is an excellent example of the Queen Anne and Eastlake styles. It was designed by local architect Dietrich Rulfs, who also designed other large homes in the area including the Eugene Blount House. The house features many interesting elements including an asymmetrical design, several gables, stained glass, intricate exterior woodwork, a wrap-around porch on the first floor, and a porch on the second floor. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Today, the house is now a home furnishing store called Fortney Home, which sells antique furniture, art, decor, and other items.
The Republic of Texas chartered Nacogdoches University in 1845. As a result, Nacogdoches University was probably the first non-sectarian institution of higher learning in Texas. The institution purchased the Temperance Hall in 1852 and shortly thereafter Washington Square. In 1858 it erected this large Greek Revival building with a two-story end portico and cupola.Today the building is used as a museum and as a place to hold special events. Nacogdoches Federation of Women’s Club operates the building and gives free tours of the building, including the upper level which holds a museum that shows the building's history from holding a university to serving as a Confederate hospital. The museum also has displays that depict a typical classroom in the l9th century.
The Durst-Taylor Historic House was built in 1835 and is the second-oldest building in the city. It is a rare surviving example of from that period and is somewhat unique in that was built out of wood rather than the more common adobe construction. It was home to many early civic leaders such as Thomas Rusk. Today, it is a house museum and includes a chicken coop, heirloom gardens, smokehouse, blacksmith shop, and a sugarcane mill.