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Old Nacogdoches University Building

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1859, attributed to James L. and David P. Howard. 515 N. Mound St.

The University of Nacogdoches was chartered by the Republic of Texas. It opened in 1845 as Texas’s first nonsectarian institution and stood on land granted to the town by the Mexican government for schools. This site was donated in 1855 by local citizens. The university functioned until 1904, after which the building was deeded to the public schools of Nacogdoches. Since the 1960s, it has been a museum and community facility.

The design of the two-story red brick, Greek Revival building is attributed to the Howard brothers of Henderson, with construction by John H. Cato and J. H. Muckleroy. The three-by-six-bay structure is strongly articulated by full-height brick pilasters with stone caps. A portico of four monumental stucco-over-brick Tuscan columns with pronounced entasis carries an entablature that wraps the entire building, and a tall, octagonal cupola with a somewhat pinched bell-curve roof is set back from the portico. This is one of the earliest buildings in Texas by the Howard brothers and appears to show their familiarity with Thomas Jefferson’s design of the University of Virginia.

Later school buildings include the Georgian Revival Central High School (1914, C. H. Page and Bro.) and the modern classical Thomas J. Rusk Elementary School (1939, Hal B. Tucker).

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Old Nacogdoches University Building", [Nacogdoches, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 49-50.

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