This building is the former post office which is now the visitors’ center. This is the original Nacogdoches town square. The Old Stone Fort, the first two storey building in town used as a trading post, is across the street just to the left of the visitors’ center. We walked around the visitors center reading town history and enjoying the sculptures.
Inside we learned even more from the displays, a short film, and the well-informed staff.
Display of oil rig equipment used in the area.
Nacogdoches (Nack-uh-do shus), the oldest town in Texas, is named for the Caddo family if Indians who once lived in the area. Local legend tells of a Caddo chief, living near the Sabine River, who sent his young adult twin sons in opposite directions to establish their own tribes. Natchitoches (Nack-uh-tish), traveled three days east (into present day Louisiana). The other, Nacogdoches, traveled three days west. Nacogdoches remained a Caddo Indian settlement until 1716 when Spain established a mission there. In 1779, a prominent Spanish trader brought a group of settlers to the mission. Spain then designated Nacogdoches a pueblo or town, making it the first town in Texas. The word Texas came from the Spanish word tejas, which was the Spanish way of pronouncing the Caddo word taychas which means friend.
The road between Natchitoches and Nacogdoches was well traveled and became a trade route that eventually became the eastern end of El Camino Real de los Tejas. The road was established in the 1680’s when the Spanish began to search for the settlement that French explorer Robert de La Salle had founded near present-day Victoria. For the most part Spanish expeditions followed Native American trails which linked complex networks of villages and important natural resources. The road ran from Natchitoches (LA) southwest and ended in Guerreo, Mexico. Eventually the lands along El Camino Real became home to various ethnic groups. Most of them settled along the trail and managed to retain their cultural traditions. These were the first Texans.
Some fun stuff tomorrow.
Louise and Duane