The Texas Blueberry Festival in Historic Nacogdoches
The Texas Blueberry Festival, founded in Nacogdoches in 1990, is held annually on the 2nd weekend of June in the city's Downtown Historic District. This festival celebrates historic Nacogdoches, the blueberry as one of the most popular and nutritious fruits in America, and Nacogdoches County as one of the largest blueberry producers in Texas.
Festival activities include a blueberry pancake breakfast; a tour of blueberry farms in the area; an antique and classic car show; a quilt display; musical concerts on the town center stage; rides and play activities for children in Festival Plaza; strolling and shopping through the unique gift, antique shops, and vendor booths on the downtown brick streets; and sightseeing the historic architectures, places, and people of the Oldest Town in Texas
This picture of the Blueberry Festival overlooks El Camino Real, one of the oldest roads in North America, an early buffalo trail, traveled by the Caddo Indian Tribes, the Spanish, the French, the Mexican adventurers, Conquistadors, and explorers---La Salle, St. Denis, De Soto's expedition, the builders of the early Spanish Missions, and by the "Men who made Texas."5
Gil Y'Barbo's original home stood on this spot. Founder of Nacogdoches in 1779 with the Adaesanos settlers, his stone house, "La Casa Piedra," called the "gateway building to Texas," was the center of military and political history in East Texas for over 100 years. Originally, Y'Barbo's Stone House stood to the right at the corner of Fredonia Street. It was demolished in 1901 but reconstructed using the original stones on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University for the Texas Centennial Celebration in 1936.
The Early Hotels: the Redland, Hart, Bullen, and Mitchell, the stagecoach inns, and livery stables were constructed along Church Street located to the left between El Camino Real and Hospital Street. The Roland Jones House (1889), at the southwest corner of Church and Hospital streets, overlays the earlier Bullen Hotel. Across the street from it stands the 1850's Greek Revival styled Joseph Durst home. The Durst home at 400 N. Hospital and the Sterne-Hoya house at 211 S. La Nana are the oldest structures in the Downtown Historic District.
The Opera House (1889), the M.G. Hazel Building (1901), and the Redland Hotel (1907), best examples of Diedrich Rulfs' commercial architecture still occupy this historic intersection at Church and East Main (El Camino Real). The Nacogdoches Opera House, commissioned by John Schmidt and built by Diedrich Rulfs, overlays the previous Mitchell Stagecoach Inn (1831), subsequently named the Cason Building, now an Art Display Center for Stephen F. Austin State University. The Opera House hosted operatic Performances, but most of the touring shows were melodramas, plays, occasional burlesques, and magic shows. After the Touring season, the theater was a favorite site for community events. In 1907 the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel published a review of a dance: "A large Crowd of dancers and several chaperones enjoyed a pleasant dance at the opera house...the weather was cool, the music good, the floor in Good condition and everything was favorable for good dancing...."6
(Next Picture: Stephen F. Austin State University)