Famous Landmarks in Nacogdoches – Our Top Five
Known as the “Oldest town in Texas”, it’s no surprise that Nacogdoches has some rich history and famous landmarks to offer from as far back at the 1800s. These pieces of history have been well-preserved, and help keep the old charm and character of this lovely little town.
Here’s a list of our five favorite historical landmarks in Nacogdoches. Do you know the history behind each of them?
1. Old North Church Oak
Did you know that the oldest Baptist church in Texas is believed to be the Old North Church in Nacogdoches?
The founder of Old North Church, Mrs. Massey Sparks Millard, arranged for the Reverend Isaac Reed to preach the first Baptist sermon to a group of settlers beneath the shade of this ancient post-oak tree on the first Sunday of May in 1838.
The original building was a one room log cabin, known now as the Liberty School House, was built in 1838 and used until 1852 when it was re-built onto the original stone foundation. In 1933, the church was reoriented to face the historic oak tree.
2. Old Stone Fort Museum
The interesting thing about the Old Stone Fort on Stephen F. Austin’s campus is that the building was never actually used as a fort.
Built in 1779, it started out as an immaculate Spanish Colonial house, then was used as a house for soldiers, a small church, a courthouse and a jail before finally becoming a popular saloon. In 1902, it was demolished during a protest, but the original stones were saved and used to create a reconstruction which resides as a museum on the SFASU campus.
3. The Old University Building
The Nacogdoches University received its charter from the Republic of Texas on February 3, 1845, and was the first nonsectarian university established in Texas. It is the only original building of a university still standing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the building is used as a museum, managed by the Nacogdoches Federation of Women’s Clubs, and can also be known around town as “the mother of education in Texas.” It will continue to stand as a milestone in the progress of education, and is recognized not only as a landmark in Nacogdoches, but in the state of Texas.
4. Nacogdoches Railroad Depot
The Nacogdoches Railroad depot‘s original wooden building was built in 1910, but burned down shortly after when it was struck by lightning. Less than a year later, the brick structure opened on April 3, 1911, and functioned as a waiting room for train passengers and as an office for employees of the Southern Pacific Railroad companies.
The station was also part of a complex that included an express office, grocery store, a freight depot, and a coal warehouse. In August of 1954, Southern Pacific terminated passenger services through Nacogdoches.
The railroad depot is the only surviving passenger depot on the old Houston East and West Railway Line (HE&WT), and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
5. Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens
The Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens is the second oldest residence that still exists in Nacogdoches. Built around 1835, the pier-and-beam foundation, wood framing, and exterior and interior features make it a rare surviving example of Deep South Anglo-influenced frame dwelling from the late Mexican or early Republic period of Texas history.
The Durst-Taylor House had a total of eight owners, who were mostly early businessmen, bankers, and political leaders.
The historical landmark gives Nacogdoches its old town charm and character near the downtown area, as it is surrounded by modern architecture and the lively 21st century style of living.
Many of these historical landmarks in Nacogdoches offer free tours, so gather your friends and family and discover the abundance of rich history the oldest town in Texas has to offer.
What’s your favorite historical landmark in East Texas?