The Durst-Taylor House in Historic Nacogdoches

The Durst-Taylor House in Historic Nacogdoches

The Durst-Taylor House in Historic Nacogdoches

The Durst-Taylor House, located near the Downtown Historic District on La Calle del Norte or U. S. Highway #59,
is a registered Texas State Historic and Archaeological Landmark that has been restored to reflect the unique and diverse cultural
and economic life of Nacogdoches and the East Texas area during the period from 1840 to 1860. The restoration of the house and
property includes, in addition to the main building, a smoke house, tool shed, blacksmith's shop, visitor's center, exhibition space,
and landscaping with heritage rose and vegetable gardens and an orchard of pear and peach trees that will interpret the horticultural
practices of mid-19th century East Texas.

From 1800 to 1875 the Durst-Taylor House passed through the ownership of ten different individuals, some of them
prominent in the history of Texas. The house evolved from a primitive wooden dwelling or "casa de madera" under the occupation
of Andres de Acosta (1809-1826), the first owner of the property and one of the original returning Adaesanos settlers with Gil Y'Barbo,
to a more sophisticated town house having Federal and Greek revival characteristics. Joseph Durst, the 2nd owner of the house
(1826-1836), paid Andres de Acosta 100 pesos for the property. Durst was the Alcalde of Nacogdoches in 1826 and was the founder of
the Texas town of Angelina. The property subsequently was owned by Isaac Watts Burton (1837-1838), who served in the Battles of
Nacogdoches and San Jacinto; Bennett Blake (1841-1845), Chief Justice of Nacogdoches and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention
of 1875; Thomas J. Rusk (1845), who was Secretary of War of the Republic of Texas, a commander in the Battle of San Jacinto, and
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; and finally by Lawrence Sterne Taylor and heirs (1870-1989), son of Charles Stanfield Taylor,
a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

The Architecture of the Durst-Taylor House follows the traditional style of Anglo settlers during the period 1820-1860:
a 1½ story box-like construction, hall-and-parlor plan with gable end chimneys, engaged porch with balustrade, and shed rooms.
During its 175 year history various owners of the house added refinements exampled in the paneled shutters, the slightly tapered square
Doric columns, Federal revival mantels on the first floor and Greek revival mantels on the second floor. Archaeological evidence indicates
that the house was moved slightly from its original foundation and that the front and side sills and the foundation piers were replaced at
one time. The architectural style is similar to that of the 1850's Greek revival John Durst House at 400 E. Hospital St. and the 1830's
Sterne-Hoya House at 211 S. Lanana St. The Durst-Taylor House has the distinction of being "the earliest known extant structure in
Nacogdoches that remains on its original location."10 The extensive planning, historical and archaeological work surrounding the restoration
of the Durst-Taylor House will serve as a model for future restorations in the Nacogdoches area and East Texas region.10


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