Things to See in Nacogdoches, Texas

by Ragtimelil

There’s a large part of the population that has never heard of Nacogdoches, Texas. I’m honored to be among the few that can not only pronounce it, but can actually spell it!

Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas. There is a legend that an old Caddo chief had two sons. When they were old enough to be leaders of their own tribes, the father sent one three days journey toward the rising sun and the other three days journey toward the setting sun. The one son, Nachitoches, settled in Louisiana and the other, Nacogdoches, settled in Texas. The road between them became El Camino Real. I’ve read that this legend isn’t really true, but like so many other Texans, I love the story and pass it on.
My dad, stepmom and I recently made an excursion to Nacogdoches to see what was there.

Nacogdoches is now a bustling college town. Stephen F. Austin College has become Stephen F. Austin State University, going from about 2200 students to 20,000 in three years. Along with the students has come the fast food restaurants, student housing and strip malls. But there is a whole side of Nacogdoches that you would completely miss if you drove through it on the main road.


The Mound

Nacogdoches was founded on the Caddo Indian settlement by descendants of the mound builders. The "Reavley House Mound" is the site of a 700-year-old aboriginal ritual center in the center of town on Mound Street. Other nearby mounds were excavated and found to contain burial artifacts.

indian mound

Brick Paving

There is a visitor’s center, once the old post office, in the middle of the downtown area surrounded by original brick paved roads that are surprisingly smooth and quiet.

red brick road


brick road










I was traveling in the company of two elderly companions so we weren’t able to walk through too many buildings. Our touring mostly consisted of driving, but we did visit the Millard’s Crossing Village. This is a collection of old houses and buildings that were moved to her land by the late Lera Millard Thomas. It has become a museum offering tours, events, and shopping in the old country store.

Millard Crossing Village

Sitton Dog Trot House circa 1842
Sitton Dog Trot House circa 1842
L Pettey
Free Methodist Church
Free Methodist Church
L Pettey
Watkins Log House
Watkins Log House
L Pettey
Burrows House
Burrows House
L Pettey

Museums, Trails and Gardens

There are plenty of other museums that we didn’t get to visit with only one day to explore. There is the Durst-Tayor House and Gardens built circa 1830. This is the second oldest house still standing in the original spot.

The oldest house in Nacogdoches is the Sterne Hoya House Museum where prominent figures such as Sam Houston, Thomas J. Rusk and Davy Crockett were guests. 

Oak Grove Cemetery

Near the Hoya House Museum is the Oak Grove Cemetery where four signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence are buried along with other prominent citizens.






The Stone Fort Museum is actually a replica since one early owner decided in 1902 to tear it down. It was rebuilt using the original materials. It was not a military fort, but rather a mercantile center although it went through many changes in its 150 year history. For almost a century, it was the tallest building in Nacogdoches.


There’s plenty more to see. There are walking trails, through forests and gardens and historic sites. There’s the Old University Building where my dad studied music. And there are annual events such as the Azalea Trail and the Championship Rodeo in March. There is something going on almost every month. You can get more information from the Visitor’s Center


Personal History

Our visit to Nacogdoches was more personal. My dad, his dad and I were all born here. Our first visit was to the Old North Church Cemetery where five generations of Petteys are buried.

Dads house

My grandparent’s house has been sold, but it is still there along with my grandmother’s little dry cleaning shop – now a taco factory. We took a trip down memory lane to a vacant lot which once was the site of the house my dad was born in. We drove by another house the family lived in, built by my grandfather until he build the house on West Seale St.

Millard Lee House


We discovered that one of the houses at Millard Crossing used to stand in front of  another house that my dad and grandparents lived in. We went by several houses that once were the home of other family members. We drove by the old train station where my dad caught a train to enlist as a bomber pilot in WWII. He remarked that his dad just shook his hand. Men just didn’t hug back then.

My granddad worked for the Texas Power and Light for most of his life. We went by the old building where TP&L used to have its offices and the alley behind the building where he always parked his truck We even went by the house where four girls taught my 14-year-old dad to dance because they didn’t have enough partners at the local dances. He still remembers the steps.

Updated: 08/04/2014, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 01/04/2016

Thank you.

blackspanielgallery on 08/16/2015

Interesting place, and nice images.

Ragtimelil on 08/15/2015

You got it! :)

Valerie Griffith on 08/15/2015


Ragtimelil on 10/07/2013

I want to live in so many places in Texas. I just can't make up my mind, but Nacogdoches will always be special.

ETEX on 10/07/2013

Nacogdoches by choice! Wasn't born here, but got here fast as I could :) Love my town. One of the (probably hundreds, if not thousands of) people who came to college here, and stayed to make it our home and raise our families here. I'm not a BIN, but my kids are !

Ragtimelil on 08/22/2012

Yes, I had years of practice.

wrapitup4me on 08/22/2012

Thanks for the fascinating tour. I did try to say it out loud to myself. I don't think I'll try to spell it on my own.

Ragtimelil on 08/11/2012

It's a town of contrasts, the old and the new.

katiem2 on 08/11/2012

Sounds and looks wonderful. The images look so comfortable and down to earth. Looks like my kinda place.

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