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.
Scenic beauty, stately architecture, complex history, and a cache of colorful stories, along with a citizenry eager to share them, support Nacogdoches' claim of being "a town as unique as its name."
Nacogdoches is in deep East Texas, at the junction of Texas 21 and US 59, 130 miles north of Houston and 180 miles southeast of Dallas. For a visitor information packet with lists of attractions, accommodations, and restaurants and a guide to antique-shopping, write to the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau
(513 North St.), Box 631918, Nacogdoches 75963; 409/564-7351 or 888/564-7351. Web site at http://www.visitnacogdoches.org. Nacogdoches' area code is 409; the zip code is 75961 (75963 for boxes) unless otherwise noted. All sites listed are wheelchair accessible unless otherwise noted.
A self-guided walking tour brochure is available at the C&VB Visitors Center, 513 North St., on the plaza.
Millard's Crossing Historic Village, 6020 North St. (US 59 N.), Box 634221, offers tours, special events, and facility rentals. Summer Evening Mystery Melodramas take place on weekends June 25-July 17; an Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration occurs the first Sat. in Dec. Hours: Mon-Sat 9-4, Sun 1-4. Admission: \$4, \$2 age 11 and younger. Partially wheelchair accessible. Call 564-6631.
Oak Grove Cemetery, on N. Lanana St., between Hospital and Price streets, is the final resting place of, among others, Haden Edwards, Adolphus and Eva Sterne, and four signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Old Nacogdoches University is at 500 Mound St. Hours: Tue-Sun 1-4; closed holidays. Donations encouraged. Tours by arrangement through the C&VB.
Old North Church, north of town, off US 59 on old Hwy. 35, is among the oldest Protestant churches in Texas; a Baptist worship service was conducted under the huge oak tree here in 1835 (current building erected 1852).
The Sterne-Hoya House, 211 S. Lanana St., built around 1828 by state representative and senator Nicholas Adolphus Sterne, is one of the oldest frame houses in Texas still on its original site; designated a Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Hours: Mon-Sat 9-noon and 2-5 (visitors admitted no later than 30 minutes before closing); closed major holidays. Large groups by special arrangement. Admission: Free. Call 560-5426.
A free brochure for a walking tour of Stephen F. Austin State University and other brochures about the area are available at
the Information Booth in the University Center, on Vista Dr. (SFA's main entrance st.). The Arts Information and Ticket Office handles events for the SFA College of Fine Arts; call 468-6407 (Visa and MasterCard accepted).
Stone Fort Museum, Box 6075, Stephen F. Austin State University 75962-6075. Write for a brochure, which gives detailed directions. Hours: Tue-Sat 9-5, Sun 1-5; closed holidays. Admission: Free. Guided tours by reservation only. Lower floor wheelchair accessible. Call 468-2408.
Antique Market, 412 E. Main; 564-8294. Antiques and collectibles; 15 outlets under one roof, including the Bavarian Doll House. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5. General Mercantile and Oldtime String Shop, 216 E. Pilar; 564-8692. Hours: Tue-Sat 10-5. Old-fashioned general store and stringed instruments. Not wheelchair accessible. Heart of Texas Gift Gallery, 210 E. Pilar; 564-6178. Western, Southwestern, and Texas gifts. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12:30-4:30. Schmidt's, 314-316 E. Main; 564-8334. Up-scale clothing and accessories. Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30-5:30. Shaw's Dept. Store, 115-117 E. Main; 564-8219. Specializes in hard-to-find sizes of national brands. Hours: Mon-Sat 9-5.
Nacogdoches Trade Days take place every 3rd weekend (Fri-Sun). The flea market, on Loop 224 north of the Texas 21 intersection, covers 40 acres, has dealers from all over the nation, and offers antiques, arts and crafts, produce, and more. Write to 1304 NW Stallings Dr., 75964; 564-2150.
Bed and Breakfasts
(A complete listing is available from the C&VB.)
Anna Raguet House, 816 W. Main; 564-2735. The house re-calls a fascinating romantic interlude in Texas history, the love affair between Sam Houston and Anna Raguet. Two bedrooms with country-style décor. Rate: \$65; continental breakfast. No pets; no smoking inside. Not wheelchair accessible.
Mound Street Bed & Breakfast, 408 N. Mound; 569-2211. This 100-year-old, 2-story Victorian home, 2 blocks from historic downtown, has an impressive collection of clocks and antiques. Rates: \$65-\$95; full breakfast. No smoking; no pets; no children. Not wheelchair accessible.
Anderson Point, 29 E. Lake Estates, 75964; 569-7445. Spacious rooms overlook Lake Nacogdoches at this lovely 2-story, French chateau-style B&B. Rates: \$65-\$75; full breakfast.
Pine Creek Lodge, Rt. 3, Box 1238, 75964; 560-6282. Enjoy country hospitality at the Pitts family's Main Lodge, East Lodge, Garden House, or Pond House, all on a 140-acre farm. Rates: \$55-\$220; full breakfast weekends, continental breakfast weekdays (full breakfast if at least 6 guests). No pets; no smoking in rooms. Mainly wheelchair accessible.
Aubrey's Cafe, 1523 E. Main; 560-9557. Cajun and East Texas fare, including boudin and collard greens with cornbread. Menus are tucked into the album covers of 331/3 LP records of performers like Joan Baez and The Cars. Hours: Tue-Sat 11-8, Sun-Mon 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Blank & Co. Restaurant, 2071/2 E. Main; 560-0776. Steaks, seafood, burgers, gourmet sandwiches, appetizers. Courtyard or inside dining. Two-story building downtown was a general store in the 1800s, where, legend says, Davy Crockett and comrades stocked up on supplies en route to the Alamo. The resident ghost, Willie Hinton, died here in 1903. Hours: Daily 11-10.
Clear Springs, 211 Old Tyler Rd.; 569-0489. Known for their catfish and ribs. Behind the old railroad depot in a century-old building that was once a grocery warehouse. Hours: Sun-Thu 11-9, Fri-Sat 11-10.
Coffee with Style, 312 E. Main (inside Schmidt's); 564-6410. Specialties are frozen cappuccino and homemade cheesecake. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5.
La Hacienda, 1411 North St.; 564-6450. In the 1913 Hayter House, designed by Dietrich Rulfs. Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-midnight.
Scenic Outdoor Sites
SFA Mast Arboretum, named for local businessman and benefactor A.T. Mast, is on Wilson Dr. on the SFASU campus. Eighteen acres of gardens include student-designed, constructed, and maintained "theme" gardens, the Children's Garden and Pavilion, and a recently added 8-acre azalea garden (scheduled for completion in 2000). Trails not wheelchair accessible. Write to Box 13000, 75962; 468-4343. Web site at http://www.sfasu.edu/ag/arboretum .
LaNana Creek Trail, a 21/2-mile hiking path that runs from the SFA campus to the downtown area (see March 1998 issue, page 23), is accessible from several sites, including the SFA Arboretum and Oak Grove Cemetery.
The Lily Farm, 19 miles northeast of Nacogdoches on Texas 7 (1 mile past the town of Aiken), is mainly a mail-order business that sells many varieties of hybrid daylilies. Open for visitors mid-May to mid-June daily (except Wed.) 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Other visitation times available by appt. Write to Rt. 4, Box 1465, Center 75935; 409/598-7556.
Lake Nacogdoches is 10 miles west of town, via FM 225 or Texas 21. Scenic overlooks, picnicking, boating, and fishing (has a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier).
The Nacogdoches Heritage Festival, June 1-5, 1999, features "A Taste of Nacogdoches," an antique show and sale, and the Heritage Ball. Proceeds are used to preserve and restore the town's historic properties. Contact the C&VB for venues and ticket prices.
The Texas Blueberry Festival, June 11-13, 1999, downtown, features blueberry delectables, a blueberry pie-eating contest, parades, concerts (including "blues"), and arts and crafts. Contact the C&VB.
Do Dat Bar-B-Que, Sep. 18, 1999, at the Expo Center (3805 N.W. Stallings Dr.), is a barbecue cook-off involving nearly 100 teams; proceeds go to charity. Write to Box 630068; 564-8361.
Nine Flags Festival of the Oldest Christmas in Texas, Dec. 3-5, 1999, downtown, celebrates the 9 flags that flew over Nacogdoches by honoring a different one each year. The 1999 festival, honoring the flag of the Republic of Texas, will include the unveiling of a life-size bronze of Thomas J. Rusk. Contact the C&VB.
Gateway to Texas Tours, operated by Judy Hale and Dolores Jenkins, arranges tours of Nacogdoches. Rates depend on number of people and length of tour desired (2-hour minimum). Judy also owns the Anna Raguet House; write to or call her there.
Red Suspenders Timber Frames, Rt. 7, Box 8383, 75961; 564-9465. Besides the Children's Pavilion in the SFA Arboretum, Red Suspenders' craftspeople built the gazebo in Eugenia Sterne Park, at 700 E. Main. Owner Tim Chauvin welcomes inquiries about timber framing.
The site of Texas' first oil well, brought in by Tol Barret in 1866, lies on FM 226, a few miles southeast of Nacogdoches.
Nacogdoches, Texas: A Pictorial History by SFASU history professor Archie P. McDonald (Donning Co. Publishing, 1996) is available from the Nacogdoches C&VB for \$34.95 (plus shipping). Nacogdoches Sketchbook, a collection of Reese Kennedy's enchanting drawings of landmark buildings with engaging narratives, was published locally and is available at several downtown shops.