Part of our in-depth series exploring Southern Early American Forts
Old Stone Fort Museum
Stephen F. Austin Univ.
Nacogdoches, TX 75962-0001
The Stone Fort Museum is housed in a 1936 replica, built on a new site, of Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo's stone house. Y'Barbo, the founder of present day Nacogdoches, built the stone house circa 1780 as the formal portals to the Spanish District of Texas. The original site of Y'Barbo's house, torn down in 1902, is the corner of Fredonia and Main Streets in downtown Nacogdoches. During its history, the original house served variously as a public building, grocery store, candy store, saloon, and as a temporary fortification during the Magee-Gutierrez, Dr. James Long and Fredonia Rebellion filibusters.
Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo (pronounced e-barvo) built a home that reflects French Colonial residential architecture, but the building acquired a nickname in the mid-1800's when its owner named his saloon the "Old Stone Fort Saloon." Prior to that, the building was referred to as the stone house.
The house changed hands several times before the Perkins brothers bought it for $12,000 in 1901 with the intention of demolishing the structure to erect a modern building. This news attracted the attention of the Cum Concilio Club, a local historical group. The Club conducted fund raising projects for one year in hopes of purchasing the aging structure. Unable to prevent the demolition of the building, the Cum Concilio Club purchased the building stones that were later incorporated in a small memorial structure and museum. Before the house was torn down in 1902, it was the oldest standing stone structure in the State, and its porch one of the earliest examples of the galerie style porch in Texas.
Photo of the Stone Fort taken by Charles M. Robinson, III from the book, Frontier Forts of Texas.
In 1936, the same stones were in turn used to build the present replica structure, authorized by the Texas Centennial Commission, which stands on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed on Mondays and holidays.
Admission is free of charge. Guided tours are available by reservation only.
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