Nacogdoches is one of the oldest towns in the state, with origins going back to the 17th-century French trade with the Nacogdoche Indians, followed by the establishment of Spanish missions in 1716. (In 1779, the Spanish Crown granted the designation of “pueblo,” or town, to the settlement.) Landmarks include La Casa Piedra (now known as the Old Stone Fort, and located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin
University); the Sterne-Hoya House Museum, set in 1830 residence of the prominent merchant Adolphus Sterne; and the Durst-Taylor Historic House & Gardens, which dates to 1835. (More Victorian-era houses can be found along Mound Street.) Nacogdoches also claimed some of the state’s early oil wells, and the downtown reflects the town's varied fortunes with a mix of restored historic buildings and modern construction. Nacogdoches, as with most of East Texas, is especially verdant in the spring, and there is probably no more splendid display of this than at the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden every March.