You probably learned in school that six flags have flown over Texas: French, Spanish, Mexican, Lone Star, Confederate, and United States. But when it comes to Nacogdoches, an East Texas city named for a band of the Caddo tribe that settled here around A.D. 1250, you can add three more, which flew in the 1800s as part of short-lived rebellions.
Last fall, we asked Texas Highways readers to share their favorite places in the state for our Texas Top-40 Travel Destinations. And share you did—by phone, email, Facebook, and through many amazingly detailed letters. Thousands of TH readers helped to shape the final list, which we will divulge throughout 2014, Texas Highways’ 40th-anniversary year.
Texas history runs deep, so to be the “oldest” anything in the state is a rather special feat. This notion is what inspired me to travel deep into the heart of the Piney Woods to the town of Nacogdoches, curious to see what adventure I could find in the “oldest town in Texas.”
Fact-checking and editing a story like the March issue’s Nacogdoches piece can be tricky business. For one thing, we realize we cannot include every noteworthy site or attraction in a destination with such rich a history as Nacogdoches, so our goal is to present the author’s take on the subject and trust that it will inspire readers to embark on their own explorations. And since history is always complex (and sometimes even subjective!), we try to find expert readers to help us weed out the half-truths, misinterpretations, and downright errors. In the case of the Nacogdoches story, we asked Jere Jackson, Regents Professor of History at Stephen F. Austin State University, to review the story for inaccuracies. In the process, Jackson provided many other interesting kernels we couldn’t incorporate due to space constraints.
I had always assumed that all of the key events of the Texas Revolution took place in the southern half of our state, in locations like Gonzales and San Antonio. But I recently learned that the East Texas town of Nacogdoches played a significant role in Texas’ journey to gain independence from Mexico.
What defines the perfect road trip? A launching point and a destination, a loose itinerary, plenty of time for detours, and a keen eye for unexpected opportunities that crop up along the way. Good tunes always liven things up, and taking along a kindred spirit never hurts. For this trip, I choose my husband, Rusty, an untiring road warrior.
In the historical Washington Square area of town, cascades of lavender wisteria perfume the air, and blazes of azaleas hug the wraparound porches of Victorian and Greek Revival homes. A Caddo Indian mound in the front yard of one residence speaks of a culture that predated Washington Square society by centuries.