Historic buildings abound in Nacogdoches. The buildings which surround the downtown square are the most often noticed and well worth examining. Here, however, is a walk that will take you through two old neighborhoods that offer a glimpse into the varied past of the city. (We are indebted to the Center for East Texas Studies, the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Texas Historical Commission for information about the locations along this walk and recommend you check their web sites and brochures before or after you take this walk.) The walk can be easily done in an hour.
Walking directions and site information given below the map.
Start on Logansport Street just north of Park Street. You'll be walking south.
A. The Clara Hoya Gray House (620 Logansport) and the Jennie Hoya Mast House (610 Logansport). Built in 1914, both homes reflect the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and are sometimes referred to as twins; however, closer examination reveals numerous differences in design and style. The homes were designed by Dietrich Rulfs, a German immigrant who is aptly called Nacogdoches' master architect for his work in the city between 1879 and 1926.
Turn west (right) on Park Street. When you reach Mound Street, turn south (left).
B. Old Washington Square is on your right. This area bounded by Mound, Hughes, Fredonia, and Edwards streets was formally deeded to the city in 1855 but was a ceremonial plaza for the Caddo Indians as early as 1250. Thomas J. Rusk Elementary School now occupies most of the square.
C. Old University Building. Located in the middle of Washington Square and now surrounded by the elementary school, the Old University Building was designed by John Cato and built in 1859. Called a university not because the original school offered higher education but because it offered study in a range of subjects, the building has served many roles in its lifetime. Besides a school, it has been used by Confederate troops, Union troops, the Catholic Church, the Masonic Order, and was a temporary home for Stephen F. Austin State University. It now operates as a museum.
D. Charles Perkins House (516 N. Mound). Designed by Dietrich Rulfs and built in 1900. Located in the front of the home near the street is the only remaining intact Caddo Indian mound in the area.
E. Indian Mound. This mortuary mound, originally larger in size, contains numerous artifacts and remains dating back to the 1200's and the Caddo Indian Confederation. Two other large mounds once existed in the Washington Square area. Only this one survives.
F. Tolbert Hardeman House (408 N. Mound). Designed by Dietrich Rulfs and built in 1899. This home now serves as a bed and breakfast inn.
G. Judge Stephen W. Blount House (310 N. Mound). Designed by Dietrich Rulfs and built in 1895 in the Queen Anne style.
Besides a residence, the building later served as a funeral home. It is now in the process of restoration.
Turn west (right) on Arnold Street and then south (left) on Church Street.
H. Lee Hardeman House (316 N. Church). Built in 1892 as a large but simple one-story home and redesigned in 1912 by Dietrich Rulfs.
I. Sarah Richardson House (315 N. Church). Built in 1897 as a two-story double house and redesigned as a one-story residence by Dietrich Rulfs in 1920.
J. Tom Summers House (304 N. Church). Built in 1890 as a one-story home, it was redesigned by Dietrich Rulfs in 1912.
K. Roland Jones House (141 N. Church). Designed by Dietrich Rulfs and built in 1895, it is one of the finest examples of Victorian domestic architecture in the state.
If you have crossed Hospital Street to take a closer look at the Roland Jones Home, double back to Hospital and turn east (right) then south (right) on Lanana.
L. Haden Edwards House (106 N. Lanana). Built in 1860 and redesigned in 1890 by Dietrich Rulfs. Be sure to walk far enough to see the southern (main) facade of the building. It now serves as a bed and breakfast inn.
Turn around and start walking north on Lanana.
M. Oak Grove Cemetery (main entrance at Lanana and Hospital). Established in the 1830's, this cemetery contains the graves of many prominent Texas historical figures including four signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico.
N. Zion Hill Historic District begins just north of the Oak Grove Cemetery. The wood-frame shotgun houses in this area constituted the most affluent African American neighborhood in Nacogdoches for many years before and after the turn of the century. Many of the residents worked in service occupations in homes you've seen earlier on the walk.
O. Zion Hill Baptist Church (324 N. Lanana). Designed by Dietrich Rulfs and built in 1914. This Victorian / Gothic Revival structure housed the senior African American congregation in Nacogdoches. The congregation has moved to a new location and the building now awaits restoration.
Turn east (right) on Park Street.
P. Black Cemetery (on Park just before Lanana Creek). The Zion Hill Baptist Church was originally located here in the 1870's and church property was used for member burials. At the time, Oak Grove Cemetery was restricted to whites. The cemetery is now maintained by the City of Nacogdoches.
Q. 'Eyes of Father Margil' (Lanana Creek near Park Street). We end our tour with a story of a miracle. During the early 1700's, Father Antonio Margil de Jesus, a Catholic priest, oversaw a string of six missions -- one of which was in Nacogdoches. During a severe drought in the area Father Margil struck a rock along the dry creek bed and much needed water poured out. An historical marker along Park Street identifies the site.
That concludes the walking tour. If you turn around and proceed west on Park, you will return to Park and Logansport where the tour began.