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Nacogdoches in Nacogdoches County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs

 
 
Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, November 20, 2022
1. Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs Marker
Inscription.  Nacogdoches owes much of its visible past to the work of master architect Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs. By 1897 according to the local newspaper editor, Rulfs had transformed the business district of Nacogdoches from a collection of pioneer-like wooden structures into a modern brick town. In his forty years of work, Rulfs also transformed the city's residential districts by designing a variety of ingenious and elegant homes. Of the buildings designed and built by D. Rulfs, as he always signed his name, over fifty survive today.

Born in 1848 in the northern German province of Oldenberg, Rulfs studied architecture and built houses and churches there before migrating to Nacogdoches in 1879. Rulfs brought with him memories of the rich Victorian styles popular in Europe at the time. Accompanying him were his wife, three children, his mother-in-law, and his brother-in-law. Wilhelm Henry Rulfs, a younger brother, came later and became the architect's trusted contractor and carpenter.

D. Rulfs came to Nacogdoches at the request of his friend John Schmidt. Schmidt, a prominent Nacogdoches entrepreneur, made the architect's reputation
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by commissioning several commercial buildings and a personal residence. Rulfs started with small brick buildings on the Public Square, later redesigning and enlarging some of these structures two and three times after fires or necessity dictated their refurbishment. This marker rests on the Old Opera House (1889), one of a series of brick buildings Rulfs designed for his mentor John Schmidt; Rulfs also designed and redesigned (1908) the Mayer & Schmidt Building at the other end of this block. The Hazel Building (across Church Street from this marker) and the Redlands Hotel (across Main Street) were products of the period of 1901-1906.

Rulfs also drew the plans for courthouses, schools, churches, and hotels in the downtown area. While he built sanctuaries for almost all the congregations in town, only two of his churches still stand: Zion Hill First Baptist Church next to Oak Grove Cemetery (still on its original site) and the Episcopal Christ Church (moved from Washington Square to Starr Avenue in 1940). Some fine examples of Rulfs' domestic architecture still stand in the downtown area along Church, Mound, and Logansport Streets. The Roland Jones House, at the corner of Church and Hospital, is one of the finest Victorian houses in the state of Texas. The business expansion of the 1960's destroyed most of Rulfs' houses along North Street, but there are still fine examples
The Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs Marker is the right marker of the two markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, November 20, 2022
2. The Diedrich Anton Wilhelm Rulfs Marker is the right marker of the two markers
along that street at the intersections of King, Powers, Starr, and Rusk. The Eugene Blunt house across from Stephen F. Austin State University is one of the architect's last and finest structures.

D. Rulfs died in 1926 and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
 
Erected by The Heritage Club of Nacogdoches and the City of Nacogdoches Main Street Advisory Board.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1897.
 
Location. 31° 36.162′ N, 94° 39.196′ W. Marker is in Nacogdoches, Texas, in Nacogdoches County. Marker is at the intersection of North Church Street and East Main Street, on the left when traveling north on North Church Street. The marker is located on the east wall of the building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 329 East Main Street, Nacogdoches TX 75961, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Nacogdoches Opera House (a few steps from this marker); Church Street (a few steps from this marker); The M.G. Hazel Building (a few steps from this marker); The Redland Hotel, 1906-1907 (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of "Old Soledad" (within shouting distance of this marker); Woodmen of the World Building
The Old Nacogdoches Opera House and Rulfs Marker (right marker) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, November 20, 2022
3. The Old Nacogdoches Opera House and Rulfs Marker (right marker)
(within shouting distance of this marker); Site of the Home of Antonio Gil y Barbo (within shouting distance of this marker); "Running to the Fight" (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nacogdoches.
 
More about this marker. There is a duplicate marker on the corner of East Main and North Pecan Streets.
 
Also see . . .  Diedrich Rulfs. Stephen F. Austin State University (Submitted on November 23, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
The Old Nacogdoches Opera House with the marker around the right corner image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, November 20, 2022
4. The Old Nacogdoches Opera House with the marker around the right corner
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on November 23, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 78 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 23, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Mar. 1, 2024